Spray painting operations are an everyday occurrence in most body shops. Shops use many potentially harmful chemicals when painting. If not done properly, it can present a huge safety risk. One way to eliminate this safety risk at your dealership is by installing a spray paint room. Spray rooms provide a clean and safe environment for workers to store and mix their coatings. Below are suggested best practices for maintaining a spray room.
First, keep all containers covered in the spray room. Open containers of paint or solvents can contaminate the air. By keeping all containers covered, you will keep the air free of harmful vapors, and it will save you money by not letting paint evaporate away or be ruined by exposure to the air.
Second, you need to make sure that you have a proper ventilation system in your spray room or install one. Inadequate ventilation is common in most spray rooms and can pose a serious risk to your health and the health of your employees. A proper ventilation system will absorb harmful vapors from the air and improve air quality. Most prefabricated spray rooms will have a ventilation system already built in. To get the best results out of your ventilation system, you should put vapor generating materials or equipment underneath or near the exhaust vent.
Next, even though you may have a ventilation system in your spray room, it is recommended to wear proper personal protective equipment, such as air-purifying respirators. Respirators need to have a tight fit to work properly. To achieve this, you should choose the right size and have a clean shave where the respirator encounters the face. Don’t forget to ensure that the cartridges are changed on a regular basis, as specified by the manufacturer. Proper gloves, glasses and paint suits are also recommended. Your skin and eyes also need protection from harmful chemicals that can not only irritate but also penetrate your skin and cause damage to your internal organs. Using latex gloves, nitrile or butyl rubber work best and meet requirements.
It’s also important to practice waste reduction. Utilize only the amount of paints required, and store and reuse leftover primers and basecoats. The use of an automated gun cleaner also reduces shop waste and minimizes your contact with hazardous solvents. Not only are you protecting the environment, you also save money. By being more efficient, you initially save on the amount of materials you need per job and, on the back end by lowering waste removal costs.
The safety of a spray application process depends on the employees who operate it, their knowledge, and the overall understanding of the process and equipment involved. Therefore, it is important to maintain an effective and ongoing training program for all employees involved in spray paint work. New employees should be effectively trained before being assigned to a job. After the initial training, it is recommended that employees receive periodic retraining to ensure their knowledge and understanding of normal process procedures as well as with emergency procedures, or any changes in procedures. Safe work habits are developed; they do not occur naturally.
All training must be provided by qualified personnel knowledgeable in the processes and operations involved. Appropriate training must be provided for all employees involved in or affected by spray application processes. This includes, but is not limited to, operating, supervisory, housekeeping, and maintenance personnel.
NFPA 33 Chapters 7,10,18,19, Annex A and Annex B
The above information is a list of potential best practices in use of a spray room. No warranty of the suggestions or recommendations are implied or made. This information is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please see your legal counsel for legal advice associated with the above suggestions.