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What to Do If Your Paint Booth Isn’t Code Compliant

Compliance is one of the most complex issues that you may deal with as a paint booth owner. There are both local and national regulations that apply to the installation and operation of your spray booth. Making sure your booth is compliant isn’t just about avoiding fines and legal issues. Codes are designed to ensure you operate your booth safely and correctly. By following the relevant codes, you can enhance quality control and protect yourself and your employees.

Ideally, it’s best to have a thorough understanding of all the relevant code requirements before you purchase a new paint booth. However, even the most conscientious paint booth owners may find themselves with compliance issues at some point. Read on to learn how to bring your paint booth into compliance.

Understand the Requirements

There are both national and state-level codes that apply to paint booths. The federal requirements come from several different agencies:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules are related to workplace safety. OSHA laws for paint booths are designed to protect operators from hazardous and combustible substances (such as paints and other finishing products). There are rules about ventilation, filters, illumination, and ignition sources.
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes are designed to mitigate the fire risks of spraying flammable materials. NFPA-33 specifically, is intended for fire control for large-scale, indoor spray paint applications such as industrial spray paint booths. This code covers fire prevention, fire suppression measures, cleaning of built-up overspray, and disposal of flammable materials.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards help reduce harm to the environment from volatile organic compounds that come from improper ventilation and/or disposal of toxic substances. There are filter codes, ventilation standards, and record-keeping requirements.

Your paint booth may also be subject to additional rules based on local ordinances. When you are pulling permits for your paint booth, carefully read through all the building codes so you understand them. You may need to choose an ETL-certified booth and/or have your setup checked by a local inspector.

Even if your paint booth is already installed, it may become noncompliant if you change the layout of your shop, disassemble and reassemble the booth, or start using different types of finishing products. Local codes can also change, requiring you to take certain actions to make your spray booth compliant again.

Mitigate Fire Risks

Local fire codes may be stricter than NFPA regulations. If your booth doesn’t meet fire safety standards, you may need to make some changes:

  • Replace clogged filters and clean out overspray buildup in the booth.
  • Install fire extinguishers, automatic sprinklers, and other fire suppression equipment as directed by the city or county fire chief.
  • Identify all ignition sources and move them away from the booth. Common sources of ignition are light fixtures, switches and certain types of fans. Make sure to store and mix paints and finishes away from spark-producing devices, ideally in a paint mixing booth.

Your paint booth itself should meet national fire safety requirements by including non-sparking fans and lights. However, taking extra fire precautions can help protect everyone in your shop.

Schedule a Field Test

Some states and cities only allow paint booths that have ETL certification. This Electrical Testing Laboratories mark indicates that the booth’s components meet certain NFPA safety requirements. In an ETL-listed booth, the electrical control panel for the lights and fans is designed to meet UL standards.

If your local codes require ETL certification, the easiest way to ensure compliance is to purchase an ETL-listed booth. You can also obtain certification for an existing booth by scheduling an official inspection and completing any required changes. However, this can be a costly certification process. If you are unsure if it will be required, it is best to purchase a booth that is already certified.

Prioritize Regular Maintenance

Once your paint booth is compliant with all relevant codes and standards, preventative maintenance is the best thing you can do to keep it that way.

  • Change filters when necessary.
  • Clean the booth regularly.
  • Check wires for wear and tear.
  • Monitor airflow and ventilation.
  • Inspect fire suppression equipment frequently.
  • Clean any overspray from the exhaust fans

If you’re not sure how to maintain your paint booth, contact an expert.

Get Reliable Support To Keep Your Booth Compliant

Paint booth compliance is about more than just following building codes; a compliant booth is safer to operate. If your booth isn’t code compliant, the best thing to do is remedy the situation right away by scheduling an inspection and completing any assigned action items. When you are purchasing a paint booth, make sure to choose one that meets federal standards and is ETL-certified (if your local codes require it). To learn more about paint booth compliance, contact our experienced team.

Top 5 Paint Booth Safety Measures

No matter what kind of paint spray booth you have, it’s essential to make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions to keep your shop and personnel safe. By following a few simple guidelines, you can reduce the risks of fire, air quality problems, and damage to your products. Here are some of the most important safety measures for spray booths.

1. Protect Air Quality

Whether your spray booth is designed for wood finishing or automotive painting, the primers, varnishes, and finishing products that it uses contain hazardous chemicals that can damage equipment and/or create health problems. A properly functioning paint booth reduces the threat of these chemicals in several ways:

  • Creating a closed space for the finishing process
  • Capturing overspray before air is exhausted outside the booth
  • Providing makeup air to maintain balanced air pressure in the booth and shop
  • Heating the air so that the finishes cure faster

To maintain good air quality in your shop, it’s essential to operate your spray booth according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to use proper exhaust filters and ductwork. Run the ventilation system at all times during spraying operations and for a suitable time afterward to clear vapor from the air.

2. Reduce Fire Risks

Most finishing products are extremely flammable, so it’s vital to take steps to mitigate fire risk. The three components that can cause an explosion or fire are an ignition source, oxygen, and flammable material. Standard paint booth operation converts liquid finishing products into airborne particles, and these particles then collect on equipment and in overspray filters. It’s not possible to remove oxygen from the air in and around the paint booth, so you must control the last remaining element: ignition.

Many actions can create sparks: drilling, welding, and using other types of equipment with high friction levels. You can help eliminate the chance of sparks by installing mats that reduce static and ensuring light fixtures are sealed properly. Make sure both your shop and the paint booth itself have adequate fire detection systems. Automatic sprinklers and other fire suppression measures are essential as well.

An ETL-listed paint booth has an electrical control panel that meets the highest safety standards. Even if your state does not require you to use ETL-certified equipment, purchasing an ETL-listed model can help you feel confident you are mitigating fire risk as much as possible.

3. Follow All Safety Codes and Standards

Safety codes and regulations are in place to help you create and maintain a safe work environment. Paint booth safety requirements come from several different organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Your state may have additional regulations. While you may not have the time or desire to memorize all the details of applicable safety regulations, there are a few basics you should know:

  • Paint booths should be made of strong materials, such as concrete or steel
  • Booths should have proper exhaust systems
  • Spray booths should be grounded, and electrical equipment should be designed for use in a flammable environment
  • Fans should have integrated spark-arrestor systems
  • There should be a clear space of at least 3 feet around all sides of the booth, including the top
  • You should post appropriate and clear safety instructions

You should only purchase a paint booth that complies with all relevant codes, including specifications from your local Fire Marshall, building inspector, and insurance provider. It’s also essential to make sure your booth is installed by a professional who follows local building codes.

4. Create Safe Storage and Mixing Procedures

Solvents, paints, varnishes, and other flammable liquids must be stored and handled safely. Personnel should wear proper protective equipment during all phases of operation: mixing, moving, and applying finishes.

It’s best to have a designated storage space or room that is separate from the rest of your shop and from the paint booth. It’s also important to mix finishing products in a space with good ventilation and fire suppression equipment. A paint mixing room makes it easy to safely store and mix your finishes.

5. Complete Preventative Maintenance

Setting up your shop and your paint booth properly is the first step to creating a safe operating environment. However, maintaining that environment is just as important. Follow the preventative maintenance guidelines for your spray booth:

  • Replace intake and exhaust air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommended frequency
  • Keep all hoses, fans, and other equipment clean and free of overspray and debris
  • Check your ductwork and seals periodically, and repair any leaks
  • Complete any maintenance tasks recommended by the manufacturer

Routine maintenance helps your paint booth operate safely and efficiently.

Keep Your Finishing Operations Safe

Choosing a high-quality paint booth is the first step toward creating a suitable environment for finishing operations. Other vital safety precautions include performing equipment maintenance tasks, using suitable PPE, and changing air filters frequently. When you purchase a paint booth from us, you can feel confident that your new spray booth complies with all NFPA, OSHA, and EPA guidelines. If you have specific requirements, we can also develop a customized booth for you.

Paint Booth Operations: 4 Reasons Why Proper Airflow is Essential

No matter what type of paint booth you have, you want it to perform optimally. There are many things that can affect a spray booth’s operational capability, but one of the most important is airflow.

Maintaining proper airflow can ensure your booth creates perfect finishes and operates within acceptable safety parameters. On the other hand, airflow problems can compromise the booth’s efficiency, performance, and longevity. Understanding the basics of airflow and the methods for controlling it can help you operate your paint booth safely and effectively.

1. Finish Quality

Airflow within your paint booth can have a significant effect on the overall finish of whatever you are painting. Adequate, balanced airflow helps ensure the paint sprays uniformly and dries quickly. However, incorrect airflow may cause several problems:

  • Incomplete or uneven drying
  • Non-uniform finish
  • Introduction of dust and debris within the booth

Even small variances in airflow can cause problems with the finish on your project, and in some cases, you may have to repaint the object entirely. Controlling the airflow within your paint booth is essential for a high-quality finish.

2. Overspray Management

The overspray in a paint booth can cause significant issues if it’s not handled properly. The paint booth needs to direct the overspray away from the object being painted so as not to ruin the finish.

However, the overspray can’t just be pulled out of the booth and released into the shop; that could compromise the air quality and create a dangerous working environment for your operators. The overspray must be directed to air filters that are designed to capture it safely. It’s vital to replace clogged air filters immediately. If you continue to run a paint booth with clogged filters, it could unbalance the air pressure, forcing the overspray into the shop’s air.

3. Air Pressure Balance

Safe, effective spray booth operation requires proper air pressure within the booth, and managing airflow is the key to maintaining the correct pressure. During operation, exhausted air is removed from the booth, which can create negative air pressure. The easiest way to resolve this issue is to install an air makeup unit that replaces the exhausted air at the correct rate to balance the air pressure within the booth. A heated AMU is especially useful, as it can provide warm replacement air to speed up the curing process.

In most spray booths, there are two types of fans that manage the airflow. The exhaust fan pulls used air from the booth toward the ductwork and removes the overspray so it doesn’t affect the finish quality. An AMU uses a blower fan to push replacement air into the booth. Controlling the airflow with these fans allows you to maintain the correct air pressure inside the booth.

4. Safety

Ensuring proper airflow is a vital element of safe paint booth operation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Fire Protection Association even have specific requirements for air velocity within paint booths.

Adequate airflow helps reduce the risk of fire by lowering the concentration of flammable materials in the booth’s air. The exact nature and direction of the airflow within a spray booth vary depending on the design:

No matter what type of paint booth you choose, it’s essential to ensure compliance with OSHA and NFPA airflow requirements.

Maintaining Proper Airflow for Optimal Performance

Proper airflow is a vital aspect of safe and effective paint booth operation. While the exact airflow requirements and directional patterns depend on the type of spray booth, federal safety guidelines define the appropriate parameters. Several things can impact the airflow and air pressure within your booth: clogged filters, malfunctioning fans, and inadequate AMU performance. If you aren’t sure whether your spray booth is maintaining adequate airflow, we can help you figure out the next step. Contact us to learn more about troubleshooting airflow problems and replacing broken equipment.

Rules and Regulations: What You Need To Do Before Purchasing a Paint Booth

Adding a paint booth to your shop can upgrade the functionality of the entire space, significantly increasing your productivity. There are various types of paint booths available from Standard Tools, so you’ll want to compare the features and costs of several models before choosing the one that’s best for your shop. You may even decide to customize your paint booth by adding a heated air make-up unit or extra lights.

Before you purchase your paint booth, however, it is imperative to make sure you create a safe environment in your shop that meets applicable regulations and ensures the spray booth can function properly. For safe operation, your paint booth setup must meet fire code, exhaust, and airflow requirements.

Overview of Safety Regulations

There are both federal and local regulations that may apply to your paint booth. For example, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has criteria for spray booths, and so does the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Because painting involves hazardous and/or flammable chemicals, it is essential to make sure controls are in place to prevent injuries to people and property. There are several essential aspects for paint booth safety:

  • Fire mitigation
  • Air quality
  • Ventilation
  • Airflow
  • Electrical safety
  • Personnel protection

Most federal requirements cover the manufacturing of paint booths, so you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with them as long as you purchase your booth from a reputable manufacturer. However, you still have to make sure you follow your local government’s codes when installing your paint booth.

Local Rules and Codes

One of the first steps toward getting a paint booth is understanding your city or county’s building and permit codes. For example, your local government may require you to pull certain permits before installing and operating a paint booth in your building. Local regulations may also require you to get a paint booth with a third-party safety certification, such as an ETL-listed paint booth.

Paint booths utilize flammable substances, so adequate fire protection is essential, both for the spray booth and the shop itself. Before you choose a paint booth, you should check your state or local regulations to find out if you need to have a fire suppression system. Even if your local laws don’t require you to install this type of equipment, you may want to schedule a building inspection by your fire marshal to ensure everything is safe and up to code before you order and install a paint booth.

Another aspect of spray booth operation involves air quality. Improperly designed or installed paint booths can release hazardous air pollutants, which can have serious environmental effects that can harm people and property.

Your local EPA office may provide information on reducing HAPs. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to follow National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants guidelines. Proper operation of your paint booth is another key aspect of reducing harmful emissions. Ensuring compliance with local EPA regulations can help you protect your community and environment.

Elements of a Safe Shop

The exact requirements for your building may depend on the type of paint booth you plan to install. For example, a woodworking spray booth is different than an automotive paint booth. Each paint booth model may have unique requirements for power/voltage, ventilation, and airflow. The dimensions of your shop, including the height of the ceiling, may also limit your options to paint booths of a certain size.

Many buildings require ductwork to carry paint booth exhaust outside. The design of your ductwork depends on the layout of your shop and your local regulations. The ductwork and shop layout requirements may change if you decide to add an air make-up unit to your booth.

Purchasing and Setting Up Your Paint Booth

When you’re ready to enhance your shop with a paint booth, the first step is to walk through all the safety protocols and local regulations to ensure you create a safe environment for operating a spray booth. You can talk to your local government authorities, electricians, and fire protection agencies to ensure your paint booth setup complies with applicable regulations. It’s essential to know about ductwork, fire suppression, and ETL requirements before choosing a paint booth.

Once you’ve worked through these steps, you can choose the right spray booth. Our expert associates can help you figure out which model meets your operational and budgetary requirements. We can even customize your paint booth or help you choose an AMU to improve productivity and performance. Give us a call when you’re ready to get started at 888-312-7488.

RAISING THE STANDARDS OF SAFETY

Every day we are lucky enough to work with customers from practically every industry. We get to hear stories of what our customers are painting, finishing, creating. We get to hear about their business.

Cars, Boats and Train Cars. Large Hollywood studios, retailers and car manufacturers. We sell to the agricultural industry, theme parks, universities and music makers. We sell to prop masters, furniture makers and industries that require ‘clean rooms’. We have the gamut of customers. They are all using the paint booth for a slightly different application, but one thing remains important: safety.

At Standard Tools, we also get to hear the stories in the field that are the very reason for safety, compliance, and codes. We have dozens of examples on the importance of being safe. All too often these lessons are learned the hard way. If you Google “body shop fires” it will haunt you to see the images of the businesses burned to the ground from not using the correct equipment or practicing unsafe operations.

At Standard Tools, we set the bar high for customer satisfaction. At the very top of that list is safety. We want our booths, employees, customers and users to be safe. We encourage them to have a booth that is compliant and will give them very little trouble for the years to come, serving them well and protecting against those dangerous situations.

Continue reading RAISING THE STANDARDS OF SAFETY

Spray Booth Code Requirements

workplace-safetyCODES,CODES, CODES. (Spray Booth Code Requirements). It’s like when you’re in school and it’s always rules, rules, rules. They can be challenging, but we all know that they exist to promote the safe design, production and use of spray booths.  They are what keep the folks working in the booth safe.

The codes are founded on common sense and from incidents from the field, like fires and explosions.

Governmental agencies or third-party groups, like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), create, administer and enforce the codes.

As a manufacturer of paint spray booths, the codes are very important to us, and everything we do to create the safest work environment for our customer that is possible.

 

THE THREE “C’S” AND HOW WE USE THEM:

Compliant Compliant means that Standard Tools uses the code as the basis in guiding our design, production and documentation.   We meet or exceed the requirements based on our interpretation of the code.

Certified A third-party testing lab like Intertek/ETL tests our booths and compares our production to the code and judges it to meet or exceed the code requirements.  When we pass the testing, we get certification. We label our product, trace the product after it’s sold and go through a routine audit by the NRTL to ensure that Standard Tools continues to comply with the code.

Complete This term means that all of the requirements in the code have been met by Standard Tools.  The NFPA codes for spray booths go beyond the design, production and documentation that Standard Tools provides.  There are requirements within the codes about the location of the spray booth, an adequate air supply and the use of licensed electricians.

With a car, there is a lot of responsibility that falls on the driver. You could have a really safe car, that was manufactured correctly, but if you fail to wear your seat belt, or you drive carelessly, it won’t matter how safe that car was made. It’s the same with a spray booth. A certified spray booth can be installed in an uncertified manner and that negates the entire certification.  There are responsibilities of the spray booth owner.   The owner is required to know and follow the instructions of safe installation and use that is provided with their spray booth from Standard Tools and Equipment.

CODES CORRELATED TO SPRAY BOOTHS
Standard Tools and Equipment is informed on the codes that apply to spray booth manufacturing and use. We understand how intensive and baffling the “code” can be … hey, sometimes we think that it may as well have been written in actual ‘code’ language

because it would seem just as foreign. Here’s a brief snippet of the codes and how they relate to spray booths.

NFPA-33 Spray Application of Flammable or Combustible Materials. This top-level code drives all other codes that are specific about spray booths and mixing rooms.

OSHA 29CFR19 10 Section 94 Ventilation and Section 107 Spray Application of Flammable or Combustible Materials

This is Federal code from OSHA with more detail about actual spray booth performance and how it relates to worker safety.

IFC International Fire Code, Chapter 15
This is an International code with less detail than NFPA-33.  This often applies to spray booths in foreign-trade zones or in businesses owned by International organizations.

EPA’s NESHAP Rule XXXXXX and Rule HHHHHH
This is Federal code that defines maximum air quality emissions for auto body shops and industrial plants relative to spray operations.

State and local codes typically mimic federal codes but may have added requirements for local considerations like weather or seismic issues.

ANSI Z83.4 and CSA STD 3.7
American and Canadian codes relating to direct-fired heated air makeup systems.

UL-508A and CSA STD 22.2 No.1 4
American and Canadian codes relating to electrical control panels.

Canada has no active top-level code for spray booths.  They recognize NPFA-33 and/or IFC Chapter 15.  They do have codes that are specific to the electrical requirements and heated air makeup units.

Codes are not laws.  Codes are enforceable guidelines to be interpreted by authorities such as local permitting agencies, insurance agencies and federal agencies, such as the EPA.  The law is that a spray booth cannot be operated without a final permit to occupy.  The ruling authority provides that occupancy permit based on their judgment of the codes and the spray operation.  Every effort should be made to comply with the codes, but special situations may be permitted if the ruling authority deems the situation as acceptable.

TRUCK PAINT BOOTHS: exhaust plenum options

Large spray booths are commonly used to paint trucks, locomotives and boats plus used in many industrial applications. Standard Tools offers a variety of cross-flow, semi-down (a.k.a. modified downdraft) and side-down draft booths. A large truck paint booth is often made in a custom size and has custom features such as an air makeup unit, specific light and door locations and drive-thru doors. Standard size large spray booths are available, but many customers will require custom sizes due to either the available space or the item being coated.

Below are some options are criteria that affect size options:
1. Installing a large truck paint booth is a sizable investment. The booth size should allow for potential growth.
2. Large spray booths require support frames that are part of the booth structure. These frames protrude 5” or 7” beyond the outer dimensions of the booth, depending on the span of panels being supported. Continue reading TRUCK PAINT BOOTHS: exhaust plenum options

WHY DO I HAVE TO COMPLY WITH SAFETY CODES?

If you are reading this posting we can assume that you are smarter than the average person.  You have shown an interest in using and maintaining your paint booth and equipment in a safe and effective manner.  What happens when we neglect safe practices and don’t follow safety codes?

The Great Molasses Flood
Great Molasses Flood

In January of 1919, a molasses storage tank in a Boston neighborhood collapsed sending two million gallons of thick goo in waves through the streets, killing 21 people and injuring over 150 people. It’s known as the “Great Molasses Flood”. The city had deemed the structure unsafe for the weight of the material stored but had not enforced its findings.

 

Cocoanut Grove Night Club after the fire
Cocoanut Grove Night Club

On November 28th 1942, a huge fire occurred at the Cocoanut Grove Night Club in Boston. 492 people perished in total. The Cocoanut Grove was originally a speakeasy—an illegal bar during alcohol Prohibition—and some of its doors were bricked up or bolted shut. During the 1990s, former Boston Fire Fighter and researcher Charles Kenney had discovered and concluded that the presence of a highly flammable gas propellant in the refrigeration systems—methyl chloride—greatly contributed to the flashover and quick spread of the fire (there was a shortage of freon in 1942 due to the war effort). As a result of the Cocoanut Grove fire and tragedy, the fire ordinances were expanded.

Continue reading WHY DO I HAVE TO COMPLY WITH SAFETY CODES?

Monitor & protect your booth 24-hours a day

For anyone who has ever visited our blog, you have already seen a lot of posts about safety. It’s something we take very seriously in the business we’re in…. and we’re hoping you do too.

We KNOW just how dangerous mixing rooms and commercial paint spray booths can be! They comprise of highly flammable liquids, which creates an environment where fire is always a threat. Fumes accumulate, chemicals leak or spill…. if any ignition source is introduced it becomes a potentially devastating combination.

When a fire occurs, systems must be instantaneously shut off and alarms and other electrical devices must be activated in order to save as much property and lives as possible. This type of explosion doesn’t always happen during usage, when someone is there to shut it off manually. What would you do if this happened in the middle of the night? Would you find your shop burned to the ground in the morning?

That’s where a fire suppression system becomes an important component of a spray booth system. (In many cases, this type of system is mandated by local municipalities, and must be installed in your spray booth.)

Generally, a paint booth fire suppression system includes dry chemical tanks that are discharged when heat-sensitive fuses are broken. In the event if a fire, when any one of the fuses break, tensioned cables are released which punctures a C02 canister, thus releasing a chemical fire retardant through nozzles positioned throughout the paint booth and sometimes parts of the exhaust stack. A manual trigger, located at the personnel entrance to the spray booth, allows a user to trigger the system from outside the booth. Other electrical components of the spray booth system may be deactivated when the system is triggered, such as the fan or AMU. The best part, fire suppression systems monitors your paint booth 24-hours a day.

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