Workers employed in the manufacture of Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI), TDI foam and plastics, and workers employed in maintenance, construction, or repair in plants where TDI is used, may be eligible for benefits due to impairment from TDI contact.
TDI is a liquid chemical used in the plastics industry. It is highly reactive, has a pungent acrid odour, and a significant vapour pressure.
Impairment results from either direct contact with, or inhalation of, harmful concentrations of fumes. Severity of impairment is related to the concentration of TDI, the length of exposure, and preventative measures taken. Rehabilitation may be required if workers develop pulmonary impairment, or sensitivity to re-employment in worksites with TDI.
Onset of symptoms
Onset of respiratory symptoms may not occur until several hours after exposure, depending on the concentration and length of exposure. High concentrations of TDI produces irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat, in that order.
The condition may resemble a head cold or influenza. Separation of occupational and non-occupational illness in exposed workers may be difficult. Workers exposed to TDI are reported to have many conditions related to inflammation or irritation of the mucous membranes, including: rhinitis, nasopharyngitis, sore throat, sinusitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonitis. Secondary infections may occur. Pre-existing conditions such as a chronic bronchitis, hay fever, and asthma (see 16-01-01, Determining Permanent Impairment due to Asthma) may be aggravated.
Respiratory allergy and sensitivity
Following initial exposure and recovery, some workers exhibit recurrence of symptoms following further minimal exposure to TDI or other chemicals. Symptoms similar to bronchospasm or bronchial asthma may appear. If necessary, the WSIB may offer workers assistance in locating alternate non-exposure employment.
This policy applies to all accidents.
This document replaces 04-02-08.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, as amended
Sections 2(1), 15(1), 15(2)
Board of Directors
#8(IX), June 10, 2004, Page 6618