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.