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Synonyms: Adhesive worker; bonder; cementer; floor-layer and wall-coverer (construction ind.); gluing worker; adhesives applicator; adhesive joiner; veneer worker (furniture)

Job profile

Definition and/or description


Glues materials such as paper, cloth, leather, wood, metal, glass, rubber or plastic together, following specified procedures. Applies adhesive to surface or material by brushing, spraying, dipping, rolling, holding material against rotating saturated brush or feeding part between saturated rollers. Presses glued materials together manually, presses material with hand roller or clamps materials in fixture to bond material together and set glue. May perform limited assembly of preglued material. May trim excess material from cemented parts. May wipe surplus adhesive from seams, using cloth or sponge. May visually inspect completed work. May be designated according to article glued as Arrow-point Attacher (toy-sport equip.); Gasket Attacher (machinery mfg.); Nock Applier (toy-sport equip.); Pad Attacher (any industry); Sample Mounter (any industry); or according to gluing method used as Adhesive Sprayer (any industry). May also be designated: Box Coverer, Hand (paper goods); Glue Spreader (furniture); Paper-cone Maker (electron. comp.); Rubber Attacher (toy-sport equip.).

Related and specific occupations


Adhesive applicator; –/joiner; –/sprayer; bonding-machine operator; floor coverer; glue-bone worker; glue-jointer worker; glue-machine operator; glue-mill operator; glue mixer; –/spreader; gluing-machine operator; etc.



Affixing; applying (adhesives); aspirating (solvents); assembling; attaching (pads); binding (books); bonding; brushing; carpeting; carrying; cementing; clamping; cleaning and conditioning; climbing (ladders, scaffolding, etc.); coating; covering; cutting (carpets, wallpaper edges, etc.); dipping; dispensing (glue); driving; disposing (of waste); drying; documenting; feeding (machines); fitting; forming; gluing; handling; heating (glue); holding (tools); injecting (glue); inspecting; installing; insulating; joining (surfaces); kneeling (while carpeting, etc.); laminating; laying (floors); lifting and lowering; loading and unloading; maintaining; manufacturing; mixing (two-part glues, etc.); moulding; mounting; opening (containers, etc.); operating (equipment); ordering (materials); packing and unpacking; pasting; performing; positioning; pouring; preparing; pressing; regulating (spray flow, etc.); repairing; sealing; securing; selecting; setting; smoothing (surfaces); spraying; spreading; squeezing; storing; supervising; taping; testing (glue joints); transporting; trimming; unclogging (nozzles); upholstering; using (tools); washing (equipment, hands, etc.); wearing (personal protective equipment); weighing; wiping.

Primary equipment used


Hand brushes; rollers (hand-held or mechanized); spraying equipment (air pressure or airless; hand-held or automated); hot-melt jet pistols; drop dispensers; squeeze dispensers.

Industries in which this occupation is common


Adhesive tapes; air conditioning (manufacturing and installation); aircraft manufacturing and maintenance; appliances assembly; bookbinding; car manufacturing and maintenance; construction (floorlaying and wall covering); corrugated cardboard; disposable diapers; electronics; foam mattresses; footwear; furniture; jewellery; labelling and packaging in miscellaneous industries and services; lamination (paper and cardboard); leathergoods; plumbing (PVC and other plastic pipes); refrigeration; rubber goods; toys manufacturing; upholstering.


Accident hazards


– Injuries during work with mechanized equipment used for the mixing or application of glues (e.g., hair, beard, clothing or fingers entanglement in mechanical mixers or in presses);

– Falls from ladders (particularly in the case of wall coverers);

– Dropping of heavy glue containers on the toes or feet;

– Cuts during opening of glue containers of certain types;

– Bursting of clogged pressure-spraying nozzles, with particular hazard of eye damage, particularly in airless spraying;

– Bursting of pressurized containers;

– Burns and eye damage in the case of work with (particularly spraying of) hot-melt adhesives; burns from heated surfaces (e.g., of dryers or activation heaters).

– Splashing of irritants, allergens and otherwise hazardous fluids (solvents, thinners, liquid glues, strongly alkaline emulsions, etc.) into eyes or on skin, with possible ingestion, during mixing, transport or application of glues;

– Poisoning by phosgene (see note 1);

– Bonding of fingers (see note 2).

– Electric shock or electrocution risk, because of the use of hand-held electric tools (e.g., hot-melt pistols, electric fans, some spraying tools), particularly in work with water-based glues;

– High risk of fires and explosions because of the presence of flammable solvents and other flammable materials (e.g., paper and cardboard in bookbinding, wood and wood dust in furniture making, some flammable foams in insulation gluing, etc.) and the accumulation of solvent vapours, particularly in small and inadequately aerated premises (see Appendix);

– Explosions of hydrogen-air mixtures formed if highly alkaline glues are accidentally or mistakenly allowed to come into contact with aluminium surfaces.

Physical hazards


– Exposure to microwave radiation, IR or UV light, if used in the drying of glues;

– High noise levels, particularly in spraying operations.

Chemical hazards


– Erythema, skin sensitization, contact and systemic dermatoses as a result of exposure to many solvents and their vapours and to other glue components, particularly to epoxy resins, n-hexane, toluene, vinyl chloride, etc.;

– Contact skin depigmentation (vitiligo) in workers exposed to neoprene glues;

– Blistering of skin in contact with glues containing epichlorohydrin (e.g., epoxy glues);

– Eye irritation by glues or vapours containing epichlorohydrin, chlorinated solvents, toluene or xylene;

– Asphyxia in the case of exposure to high concentrations of n-hexane;

– Irritation of mouth, throat and nasal cavity by toluene, trichloroethylene or xylene;

– Respiratory tract irritation by solvent vapours, particularly n-hexane;

– Carbon monoxide poisoning from overheated hot-melt adhesives;

– Pneumoconioses from exposure to dust or fibres of some inorganic insulating materials being glued;

– Pulmonary oedema as a result of inhalation of vapours of mixed aliphatic solvents and gasoline;

– Pulmonary oedema, chemical pneumonitis and haemorrhages as a result of aspiration of liquid benzene or xylene;

– Gastrointestinal disturbances as a result of the ingestion of minute amounts of various glues, in particular during brushing of vinyl glues;

– Polyneuropathy, in particular by n-hexane;

– Depression of the central nervous system with possible headaches, dizziness, incoordination, stupor and coma as a result of inhalation of acrylonitrile, cyclohexane, toluene, xylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichloroethylene;

– Risk of spontaneous abortion or damage to the foetus in pregnant women exposed to organohalogen solvents;

– Blood changes and anaemia from exposure to benzene;

– Elevated blood pressure from exposure to dimethylformamide;

– Damage to the liver by dimethylformamide, tetrahydrofuran or vinyl chloride;

– Carcinogenicity. The following glue constituents or solvents have been classified as animal carcinogens (Category A3) by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH): acrylamide; chloroform; dinitrotoluene; epichlorohydrin; hexachloroethane; methylene chloride; 2-nitropropane. Acrylonitrile and ethyl acrylate have been classified as suspected human carcinogens (Category A2). Benzene has been classified as a confirmed human carcinogen (Category A1).

Biological hazards


– Exposure to pathogenic micro-organisms which may grow in certain types of glues (e.g., bone or casein glue).

Ergonomic and social factors


– Wrist, hand and arm problems (e.g., tenosynovitis as a result of repetitive motion when glues are applied by brushing or by squeeze-dispensing);

– Tiredness (in particular leg tiredness) in gluers continuously working in a standing position, as in a spraying station;

– Leg cramps and damage to knees in the case of floorlayers (carpet, parquet and strip layers); use of knees to move carpets during carpetlaying may cause bursitis (known in this case as “carpetlayer’s knee”);

– Strains and sprains caused by the lifting of heavy glue containers;

– Exposure to obnoxious smells, particularly from glues containing certain bactericides.




  1. Severe and even fatal poisonings by phosgene have been reported for gluers who smoked while working with glues containing organohalogen solvents. When inhaled through a burning cigarette, such solvents are decomposed and partially converted into phosgene.
  2. A hazard peculiar to gluers is the possible bonding of finger-to-finger, particularly when working with cyanoacrylate and some epoxy glues.
  3. Severe injury may be caused, in particular during airless spray gluing, by high-pressure cutaneous injection of glue into the hands or arms.
  4. “Glue sniffing”, and the related intoxication and neurotoxic effects, are a significant hazard because of the easy access to glues.
  5. The use of benzene as a glue solvent has been banned in many countries.
  6. Eye injuries have been caused by bursting of glue (in particular cyanoacrylate) during hard squeezing of tubes whose opening was clogged by a small amount of hardened glue.
  7. Increased incidences of sinonasal cancer, rectal cancer and multiple sclerosis have been reported for gluers.



Chemical substances commonly used as glue constituents or solvents:

– Acetone

– Acrylamide polymers

– Acrylonitrile

– Adipic acid

– Aliphatic amines

– Benzene

n-Butyl acetate

n-Butyl acrylate

– Butylated hydroxytoluene


– Chloroacetamide

– Chlorobenzene

– Collagen

– Colophony (rosin)

– Cyclohexane

– Cyclohexanone

– Diaminodiphenylmethane

– Dibutyl maleinate


– 1,1-Dichloroethane

– Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)

– Dichloropropane

– 2,2-Dimethylbutane

– Epoxy resins

– Ethanol

– Ethyl acetate

– Ethyl butyl ketone

– Ethylcyanoacrylate

– Ethylvinyl acrylate

– Formaldehyde



– 2-Hydroxypropyl methacrylate

– Isobutyl alcohol

– Isophoronediamine

– Isopropyl acetate

– Isopropyl alcohol

– Kerosene

– Maleic anhydride

– Methanol

– Methyl butyl ketone

– Methylene chloride

– Methyl chloroform (1,1,1-trichloroethane)

– Methyl cyanoacrylate

– Methyl ethyl ketone

– Methyl isobutyl ketone

– Methyl methacrylate

– Methyl pentanes

– Naphtha solvent

– Naphtha VM&P

– Natural latex

– Neoprene

– Nitrobenzene

– 2-Nitropropane

– Pentachlorophenol

– Pentane

– Perchloroethylene

– Phenol-formaldehyde resins

– Polyamide resins

– Polyester resins

– Polyimide resins

– Polyoxyalkene glycols

– Polyurethane resins

– Polyvinyl acetate

– Polyvinyl alcohol

– Polyvinyl chloride

– Stoddard’s solvent

– Styrene acrylate

– Tetrachloroethylene (perchloethylene)

– Tetrahydrofuran

– Toluene

– Toluene diisocyanate

– 1,1,1-Trichloroethane

– Trichloroethylene

– Vinyl acetate

– Xylene



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