Ensuring contractors’ safety and well-being when working with adhesives



Flooring installations have become significantly more complex because of technological advances designed to overcome challenges faced by installers. A major benefit of this approach is the increased focus on the potential health and environmental implications of the products being used. Greater awareness of hazards has led to better working conditions for installers, and a healthier long-term outlook all-round.

The latest legislation requires a Safety File to be submitted by the flooring sub-contractor to the main contractor on a typical flooring project. This file must include information such as medicals for the staff on site, safety data sheets for the products to be used as well as “green” certification where appropriate.

Modern floor coverings available on the market today are increasingly free of pollutants and can more easily be recycled. Sophisticated sealants have improved finishes, reduced maintenance costs and increased durability. As a result, many modern floor coverings are less tolerant of certain chemicals which were historically used in adhesives and preparation products.

A holistic approach to health, safety and well-being

Many additional health, safety and well-being factors must be considered when planning and implementing a quality flooring solution. Manufacturers and contractors need to take a longer-term view,  and be conscious, not just of the risks of installation degradation or failure, but also of potential legal action arising from inadvertent exposure of employees to harmful chemicals.  The built environment will increasingly demand adhesives and preparation products that deliver optimum performance and meet stringent health and eco-sensitivity requirements.

Screed moisture

Moisture levels that exceed the tolerance of the vinyl flooring to be used will result in costly failure. It is vital to choose a moisture barrier that can prevent this – but also one that does not contain substances detrimental to health. VAPORiTe moisture barriers from iTe PRODUCTS provides effective moisture and vapour protection when used correctly, and a zero-VOC formulation, making it safe for the applicator and suitable for green projects.

Solvent sensitivity of the floor covering

Many South African adhesive manufacturers still use solvents in their adhesives, even though modern flooring is more sensitive to solvents, even in low dosages. Long-term health complications can be experienced by applicators who are exposed to solvents. A more immediate risk comes from inflammable solvent-based rubber, contact or neoprene adhesives which are very easily ignited – often with tragic consequences. Non-flammable versions exist, but these typically contain a solvent which can cause serious respiratory problems, and has been shown to be addictive.

The chemical compatibility of the adhesive needs to be considered to ensure a high performance of the floor. If the adhesive accelerates plasticiser migration, it could soften and fail.

iTe PRODUCTS’ GRIPiTe adhesive range is certified solvent-free, and is compatible with the flooring to be bonded. Importantly, using GRIPiTe adhesives carries no long-term health risks to contractors and applicators and the absence of harmful chemicals in the formulation is good news for the environment.

The company takes exceptional care to ensure that their products deliver world-class performance and are manufactured to the highest international standards at very competitive prices. At the same time, they are conscious of their responsibilities to people and to the planet, today and tomorrow.

For more information, contact iTe Products on Tel: +27 (11) 864 4918

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