Go to: global finishing solutions home page Thoughts & Insights:  paint booth blog Connect with Us!  Facebook Twitter Linkedin Youtube Google Plus GFS Booth Blog
Finishing Academy Paint Booth Training

Choose one of these Automotive Refinish Training Modules:



  • Fire Prevention
  • Spray Booth Functions
  • Spray Booth Classifications
  • ETL & UL

1.2.4.a Fire Prevention



Most of us would agree that a fine finish is the reason for a using a booth. But in fact, coating processes bring together chemical compounds and air which create, literally, explosive situations.

So, before booth design was fine-tuned for finish quality as well, the first booths were safety measures: confine and control the volitile mixture of air and coating product to minimize or prevent hazardous conditions from forming.

1.2.4.b Function of a Spray Booth


The primary function of a spray booth is to reduce the likelihood of fires and explosions. Although we consider operator safety among the highest priorities, it is not a function of spray booths to protect the operator from overspray contamination. Spray booths cannot be designed to adequately protect the operator. It is not unusual for part geometry to require the spray gun to be directed near the operator. Some people assume that a spray booth is an emission control device which must comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. A spray booth is not an emission control device.


1.2.4.c Spray Booth Classifications


Spray booth classifications are outlined in NFPA-33. NFPA classifies booth areas according to the types of electrical equipment and other possible ignition sources that can safely be used within those areas.


Class 1 =

flammable gasses and vapors


Class 2 =

combustible dusts


Divisions 1 and 2 =

locations in the classified area in which these flammable gasses, vapors and dusts are handled *Most Industrial Booths are Class 1*


Class 1 Division 1 =

are the areas inside the spray booth and inside the ductwork


Class 1 Division 2 = any area within a 10 foot radius of the open face of a spray booth. *when the spray gun is not interlocked with the exhaust fan*




Class 1 Divisions 2 = when the spray gun and fan are interlocked, this is refers to an area extending five feet back from the open face *This area also extends three feet from a conveyor opening and includes the area above the ceiling of the booth*



Equipment located in the Class 1, Division 1 atmosphere must be classified as explosion-proof


In practice there should be no electrical items inside a spray booth. Electrical equipment in the Class 1, Division 2 atmosphere must be UL listed and must not produce sparks under normal operating conditions.


1.2.4.d ETL is an Alternative to UL




ETL Testing Laboratories, Inc. is recognized throughout the United States as an alternative to Underwriters Laboratories. The ETL safety label is accepted as being equal to that of Underwriters Laboratories when denoting compliance with nationally recognized Underwriters Laboratories (UL), American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) standards in a labeling, listing and follow-up program.


ETL, originally organized by the Edison Illuminating Companies, has been conducting performance and reliability tests since 1896. In 1977, they initiated their product safety testing program upon the request of various HVAC manufacturers. Today, after an intensive campaign requiring negotiations with more than 1500 civic entities ranging from small cities to entire states, the ETL safety label is a nationally recognized alternative to that offered by Underwriters Laboratories for electrical products, building materials and systems, and gas and oil-fired products. ETL is also an alternative to American Gas Association (AGA) for gas-fired products.

At the present time, ETL is not aware of any jurisdiction in the United States, which does not recognize and accept their safety label. Many individual states and municipalities have sent ETL written confirmation of their acceptance. ETL has also been evaluated and listed as a nationally recognized laboratory by the major regional building code agencies: Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA) (Northeast U.S.), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) (Western U.S.) and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCC) (Southeast U.S.).


These agencies establish building codes and standards which many municipalities and states adopt as their own code. For example, ICBO is responsible for the Uniform Building Code, which is widely used west of the Mississippi River. Since ETL is recognized by the building code agencies, the civic entities that adopt their codes accept products certified by ETL.


The Federal Government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also designated ETL Testing Laboratories, Inc. as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory under its NRTL Program. ETL received NRTL status to test nearly 200 safety and performance standards applicable to workplace related products. This designation re-enforces ETL's acceptance nationwide as an alternative to UL and AGA laboratories.


In addition, mass merchandising and retail establishments such as Sears, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward recognize ETL's safety label as equivalent to UL. Sears has sent a newsletter to all their vendors and suppliers notifying them of the acceptance of ETL's safety label. Major corporations such as IBM, Pepsi Cola, McDonalds, and Wang have amended their corporate policies to include ETL.

The efforts required to achieve national parity with UL were long and tedious. In a few cases, ETL had to utilize legal procedures to become accredited. In New York State, ETL's district congressman and assemblyman initiated an amendment to the state law, which had previously stipulated UL only. In the state of Oregon, ETL's legal department successfully approached the State Attorney General to qualify the ETL listed equipment of one of their clients who would have lost an order due to the "UL" requirement in the request for quotation of a state procurement division. Civic entities are required to recognize ETL due to the "Restraint of Trade" conditions of the Federal Clayton "Anti-Trust" Act.


Global Finishing Solutions - The World Leaders in Paint Booth Technology- Paint Booths

12731 Norway Road • Osseo, WI • 54758 • info@globalfinishing.com • 800-848-8738