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Fire Safety for Spray Booths and Rooms

March 5, 2014

paint booth

The use of spray paints and finishes for commercial applications poses serious fire and explosion hazards. Auto body shops, woodworkers, and manufacturers should make sure their spray booths or rooms are safe and well maintained at all times. Although it is possible to build a spray booth or room yourself that meets safety requirements, we recommend that a pre-engineered booth and suppression system, which meets NFPA and OSHA requirements, be purchased and installed by professionals.

When looking at a spray booth or room, here are some things to check to make sure that it meets safety standards and is properly maintained:

  • An automatic suppression system (water, wet chemical, or dry chemical depending on the products being sprayed) covers the entire area of the booth or room including all plenums and ducts.
  • Suppression systems are serviced at least semi-annually and after any activation.
  • All sprinkler heads are covered with cellophane or thin paper bags (.076 mm or less) to prevent overspray buildup.
  • Explosion-proof lighting is installed.
  • A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), such as UL, FM or ETL listed, explosion-proof wiring is used inside the booth or room and within three feet of the doors.
  • Paint or finishes are only stored in spray booths or rooms while in use.
  • Nothing should be stored inside the booth or room when not in use.
  • There is no storage of combustible materials against or within three feet of the exterior of the booth.
  • Mechanical ventilation is provided and interlocked with spray guns and fans to shut them off if the ventilation is cut off.
  • Doors must be closed while booth is in use, and ideally, should be interlocked with spray guns to prevent spraying while the doors are open.
  • Any overspray should be cleaned using non-spark-producing tools and/or solvents with a flash point of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use NRTL Listed waste cans with self-closing lids to dispose of rags and oversprayed combustible materials.
  • Post “no smoking” signs throughout the area and make sure it’s strictly enforced.
  • Portable heaters are not used inside spray booths or rooms.

Article by: April LaRita Green

Source: NFPA

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