Voluntary agreement and workplace safety

Like many substances, formaldehyde should be handled with care and the appropriate precautions should be taken when working with the substance in an industrial setting. Occupational exposure can occur in industries that use formaldehyde, including the manufacture of formaldehyde or formaldehyde-based resins. A wide array of safety measures can be implemented to limit exposure to formaldehyde process emissions and formacare recommends the highest level of protection in occupational settings, including the use of closed systems and high standard ventilation units.

In May 2019, Formacare’s General Assembly approved a Voluntary Agreement to implement anoccupational exposure limit (OEL) for formaldehyde. The formaldehyde sector’s voluntary agreement took effect immediately, a full two years ahead of the new legislative requirement of the CMD Directive. This is a unique commitment that’s supported by trade unions in the Formaldehyde Value Chain Alliance as well as the wider value chain.

The Voluntary Agreement is signed by virtually all Formacare members covering about 90% of the European market. It is a commitment to voluntarily implement OEL values as proposed by European Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limit (SCOEL), i.e. 0.3 ppm for the 8-hour TWA and 0.6 ppm for the short-term exposure limit (STEL). There is consensus among industry and trade unions that this constitutes a safe threshold for workers. Signatories are committed to continue improving health through prevention and protection workers exposed to formaldehyde in the workplace.