As a manufacturer safety is always a top priority. One area that can often be a source of safety problems is your paint department and in particular your paint booth. The following are common areas of potential violation of paint booth safety.
Common Paint Booth Safety Violation # 1 – Electrical Equipment
NFPA 33 is the safety code that dictates critical information related to fire safety in paint booths. One important area that is addressed by NFPA 33 is ignition sources and paint booths. NFPA 33 classifies the area within the paint booth as a class 1 division 1 area. This essentially means you cannot have any electrical or any sources of ignition within the confines of the paint booth or within a certain amount of space around the opening of the paint booth. Practically speaking this could be anything from a heater to a radio, all are considered ignition sources and would put the painter at danger as well as be a safety violation. An additional common electrical source that is often overlooked is electric drills for mixing paint, unless they are explosion proof they are considered an ignition source. In a paint booth to safely mix your coatings you need a non electrical drill like an air powered mixing drill.
Common Paint Booth Safety Violation # 2 – Respiratory Protection
A common misunderstanding is that if you are using a paint booth the paint booth is preventing the painter from being exposed to any harmful chemicals. However OSHA 1910.94(c)(6)(iii)(a) states that respirators are required when the operator is downstream of the object being sprayed. This essentially means that you should always be wearing a respirator when your in a paint booth to ensure you are not exposed to harmful fumes from the paint you are using. Depending on what you are painting you may require additional special requirements for your respirator, like a forced fed air respirator. This is an area that you can check with your coatings provider to see if there are any exceptionally dangerous chemicals in your paint that require a special respirator, one common harmful chemical that you should use a force fed respirator is with coatings that have chromate included in them but this can be verified with your paint provider.
Common Paint Booth Safety Violation # 3 – Not changing out your filters or using the wrong paint booth filters
Your paint booth filters act to capture overspray properly and ensure you do not release overspray into the atmosphere. In order to ensure they work effectively they must be changed at appropriate intervals. Failure to do so creates overspray building up inside your paint booth and can negatively impact air flow. The best way to ensure your paint booth filters are being changed at an appropriate schedule is to use a paint booth manometer, and a manometer can be a requirement that is often overlooked.
Additionally the EPA has set forth requirements of the minimum effective filtration that a paint booth can use. There are also special requirements for filters if you spray certain types of coating that are covered under The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”). You should know if your spraying coatings that will be problematic in this way and if you are you need to ensure the filters you have selected are properly designed for NESHAP coatings. Commonly this will require a multi layered filter where there are atleast 2 or sometimes 3 stages of filters to properly collect dangerous over spray.
Common Paint booth Safety Violation # 4 – Storing excessive coatings in the Paint Booth
NFPA 33 8.2.2 states limitations on the volume of flammable liquids that can be stored outside of identified storage areas like paint storage cabinets. The limitation is defined as the greater of the amount required for 24 hours of spray operations or 25 gallons (NFPA 33 2016) . If you have large amounts of paint sitting inside your paint booth this would be a potential safety violation.
Common Paint Booth Safety Violation # 5 – Not doing all your painting inside the Paint Booth enclosure
To be considered a paint booth you have to be painting within the confines of a paint booth. If you paint outside of the booth enclosure you may no longer be considered to be using a paint booth. This creates a variety of regulation concerns and safety concerns. If you are painting outside your paint booth you may need to evaluate a larger designed paint booth to ensure you can fit your entire product in the paint booth and perform your painting in the enclosure of the paint booth.
Ultimately paint booths are designed to help keep you from danger. By properly using the paint booth and considering critical safety factors you can be best prepared to ensure you are safely operating your paint booth.