Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety

Hazardous Paint Booth Operation and Prevention

Creating a proper finishing environment includes keeping your paint booth, spray guns and filters clean, which helps ensure the safety of technicians. Hazards can result from improper applications or balance in the booth, or insufficient maintenance.

Danger of Fire or Explosion:

The following actions or situations can result in a fire or explosion if a source of ignition is introduced into your paint booth:

  • Leaving the booth off, operating in the wrong booth cycle (i.e. cure) or using clogged filters when painting
  • Insufficient exhaust filtration
  • Inadequate or lack of ventilation during the operating phases of the booth (painting, flash and cure)
  • Heavy overspray building on the floor or in the ductwork, heating system or pit
  • An improperly operating burner

Other Dangerous Actions Inside a Paint Booth

The following actions are forbidden inside a paint booth in order to reduce contamination and protect the safety of the operator and equipment:

  • Preparing or mixing solvents
  • Storing containers for paints or solvents (even if empty)
  • Storing rags and other objects that are spotted or stained with paint/solvents
  • Wearing articles of clothing that are spotted or stained with paint/ solvents
  • Smoking
  • Using grinding or welding tools that produce a particle spray
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  • Applying booth coating with the booth in operation
  • Using electrical devices of any kind
  • Storing or consuming food and beverages
  • Storing dangerous articles or substances, such as spray cans

Precautions to be Taken Inside the Paint Booth

To keep your spray booth running in peak condition and extend its lifespan, the following actions should be taken:

  • Replace the filters as often as necessary. Excessive clogging of the filters will result in a decrease in airflow
  • Clean and perform regular maintenance on all parts subject to wear, such as the blower, heat exchanger, burner, dampers and all control devices
  • Clean spray booth walls and ductwork, as necessary
  • All accessories used in relation with the paint spray booth (air compressors, air dryers, breathable air systems, etc.) must be designed for use with spray booth systems and maintained, per manufacturer’s specifications

Protecting The Painter

For protection against toxic materials, a painter should wear a protective suit, hood, gloves, respirator and breathable air supply. Prolonged exposure to isocyanates – powerful irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts – can render a painter permanently allergic to the dangerous chemicals. Covering yourself isn’t enough if your protective material is porous enough to admit isocyanates — use gloves that can protect your hands from isocyanate exposure.

Sound Level Management

The velocity of air creates sound that can reach or exceed safe levels, with unmanaged sound in the paint booth area reaching more than 90 decibels. Non-laminar airflow generates more noise by creating vibrations in the paint booth and duct structures.

Comparative Sound Levels

  • 85 dB: Train that is 100 meters away
  • 90 dB: 50 kW electric motor
  • 105 dB: Spray gun at 60 psi
  • 125 dB: The threshold for human ear pain
  • 140 dB: Nearby jet taking off

In addition to wearing ear protection, sound management technology provides a way of reducing noise levels. This improves the safety and quality of the working environment by reducing fatigue and creating an atmosphere in which instruction can be communicated.

Ways to Mitigate Sound

  • Mount the exhaust fan on the outside or ceiling of the building
  • Do not obstruct areas before or after the exhaust fan
  • Do not mount offsets or elbows in the ductwork
  • Do not mount the exhaust fan directly on top of the exhaust chamber
  • Attach the exhaust chamber to the spray booth with flexbile coupling
  • Add insulated exhaust mufflers — testing indicates that two inline mufflers reduce noise by 2 to 3 dB
  • Avoid 90-degree bends — make the change in direction as gentle as possible to minimize turbulence (noise source, in this case); for example, use a 22.5-degree elbow, a straight section and another 22.5-degree elbow for a 45-degree turn
  • Caulk all joints