Workplace injuries from hot melt hazards
Industrial hot melt adhesives are widely used in Georgia and around the country. These adhesives are used to bond glass, ceramics, textiles and metals, from clothing production to automotive manufacturing. While hot melt adhesives have a wide range of utility, they can also pose a serious threat of workplace injuries due to the high temperatures required to use them. Hot melt adhesives are typically made from plasticizers, polymers, antioxidants and tackifiers and are often harmless in their non-melted state.
Hot melt adhesives’ industrial use
However, in order to serve their purpose as adhesives, hot melts must be exposed to high temperatures and melted. These products are widely used in addition to or in replacement of solvent-based adhesives because they can be more durable and can often be used without special disposal regimes. Developments in hot melt adhesive technologies have made them more appealing to companies looking to meet safety and sustainability goals, as they have become more environmentally friendly.
Injury risks with hot melt adhesives
Hot melt adhesives require very high temperatures for use, leaving workers at risk of serious burns on a production line. Hot melt is usually applied at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the presence of high temperatures, employers must focus on safety and provide appropriate safety data information and equipment, such as goggles and gloves, for workers handling hot melt products. Equipment must also be properly maintained in order to avoid serious workplace injuries. For example, overfilled tanks can lead to splashes and spills, and poorly calibrated thermometers can overheat the adhesive to the extent that personal protective equipment is overwhelmed.
Employers that use hot melt adhesives and other risky products must ensure that dirt and debris are kept away from the adhesives; failure to do so could lead to dangerous malfunctions and spills of molten hot melt. Injured workers should seek care immediately in the case of exposure, and workers’ compensation benefits may provide long-term relief for severely injured employees.