We are looking beyond infrastructure, too. ACMA’s Composites Growth Initiative has driven support for composites by large automotive and aerospace OEMs through our growing Composites Technology Day series. In the new Congress, we will continue to increase our firepower in this area to make sure composites are recognized as the go-to material for the future of mobility and national security.
ACMA’s environmental, health and safety advocacy in 2019 will focus on the regulation of health risks in composites industry workplaces, an ongoing concern for state and federal regulatory agencies and for organizations that promulgate voluntary workplace standards. ACMA’s Regulatory Steering Committee (RSC) is concerned these organizations may fail to consider the full scientific database and the feasibility of control. According to RSC Chair David Ring, corporate manager of governmental affairs & strategic projects at Strongwell, “The RSC believes that the clarification of workplace risks related to styrene exposure is the most critical long-term regulatory issue facing the industry.”
Many composites industry companies are concerned about the impact of the 2019 Edition of NFPA 400, the fire protection standard for storage of organic peroxides and other hazardous chemicals. The provisions for organic peroxide storage are undergoing numerous changes as a result of recent fire testing of commonly used formulations and adoption by NFPA of a new approach to fire protection for hazardous chemicals. ACMA is working with organic peroxide suppliers and NFPA to ensure the provisions of the code are based on an adequate understanding of the hazards of the material and allow workable storage methods.
This year, the RSC will provide additional content and activities for the ACMA Workplace Safety Program introduced in 2018. This voluntary program helps – and provides recognition to – composites manufacturers adopting OSHA’s recommended practices for workplace safety management programs. Companies adopting the practices benefit from reduced workplace safety incidents, reduced turnover and improved operating efficiency. Widespread participation in this program will also help ACMA show regulatory agencies that the composites industry does not need additional regulation.
ACMA expects resolution in 2019 of the Prop 65 enforcement actions pending against composites manufacturing operations in California. Legal notices filed by a public health advocacy group claim several ACMA members violated Prop 65 by failing to provide warnings before exposing community members to the styrene emitted from their manufacturing operations. The ACMA California Composites Council has retained legal counsel and is seeking clarification of state policy that manufacturing emissions are regulated via operating permits and not Prop 65.