Safety in the use of synthetic vitreous fibre insulation wools (glass wool, rock wool, slag wool). ILO code of practice.

"...a good basis for developing more specific policies and procedures for your operation or facility. The appendix on classification includes a fairly detailed description of how these products are classified as health hazards under various classification systems, including IARC, the European Union, ACGIH and the proposed Globally Harmonized system." The Synergist, December 2002 USA

The use of synthetic fibre insulation wools in construction has become increasingly widespread. This ILO code of practice is intended to be applied worldwide, and particularly in countries that do not have, or are in the process of developing, safe work practices in the use of insulation wools. The guidance offered will also benefit small-scale enterprises.

The code sets out the general duties for manufacturers, suppliers, specifiers, employers, workers and competent authorities, all of whom have an important role to play in maintaining the safety of the entire process, from production to waste management and disposal. The provisions of the code cover preventive and protective measures, information, education and training, and surveillance of the working environment and workers' health. The perspective has been enlarged to establish a proper chain of responsibility so that diversified situations in different countries are covered.

The code takes an integrated approach since insulation wools do not appear in their pure forms but rather as products with mixed components. It addresses all the hazards arising from the product (insulation fibres, binders and other materials), with regard to real-life situations, and contains useful appendices on classification systems, exposure data and risk assessment.

Although the code was written for insulation wools, many of its provisions could be applied to other synthetic vitreous fibre materials.