How to Keep a Spray Booth Safe

Paint spraying is a hazardous operation. Paint still often contains heavy metals. The solvents can suffocate or cause unconsciousness, and the long-term effects of volatile organics are still being investigated. The fumes pose fire and explosion hazards, but fine droplets can also conduct electricity – posing electrocution risks. The high pressures used can penetrate the skin or send paint and debris flying through the air.

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Unsurprisingly, there are many environmental, fire safety, COSHH and health and safety regulations that apply to booth design and operation.

Respiratory Protection

Both masks and extractors are usually needed for paint spraying. Ordinary dust masks are not sufficient, and a properly fitted filtered mask is essential (see some reviews here

Steps must also be taken to avoid dangerous concentrations of paint and fumes accumulating in the air. Remember that solvents continue to enter the air even after the spraying has concluded. Depending on the size of the space and amount of spraying, both ventilation and filtration strategies may be needed.

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Spray Booth Filters

Spray booth filters provide three benefits: they protect the paint-sprayer, reduce the amount of toxic paint and fumes that escape into the environment and, last but not least, they suppress the airborne dust that would otherwise degrade the finish of your painted surfaces.

Filters specific for spraying booths should be used – paint quickly blocks other types of filter. Corrugated (concertina) paper filters can be used but fiberglass is also popular for spray booth filters. Some fiberglass filters are layered so that as the surface becomes blocked with dry paint, a layer can be peeled off to expose a fresh surface beneath.

Another common strategy is to put a pre-filter in front of regular extraction ducts. Sprinklers may need protecting with similar material.

Ideally, an air quality monitoring device should be installed to alert you if levels begin to exceed safe levels. You can then change filters and check your other ventilation equipment.

Fire and Electricity

The precautions for these dangers are fairly obvious – keep any source of shock or ignition well away from the booth.

Environment Protection

You are also required to demonstrate the safe disposal of paint-soiled containers, filters and cleaning rags. The precise rules that apply should be outlined in the safety data sheets that come with your paints and solvent.