GENERAL SAFETY PRACTICES DURING PAINTING OPERATIONS
13.1 Introduction. This section discusses general safety concerns during painting operations and appropriate actions to be taken to protect those conducting these operations and others in the immediate area. Installation safety and industrial hazards offices should be consulted to determine detailed requirements for worker safety, including protection from toxic materials. General concerns will be discussed, much as they are discussed for safety paint application in SSPC PA 3, Safety in Paint Application. OSHA provides requirements for safety in the workplace. These requirements include:
29 CFR 1910.106/29 CFR 1926.152, Flammable and Combustible Liquids
29 CFR 1910.1200/29 CFR 1926.59, Hazard Communication
29 CFR 1910.146, Permit-Required Confined Spaces
29 CFR 1910.151, Medical Services and First Aid
29 CFR 1910.25, Portable Wood Ladders
29 CFR 1910.26, Portable Metal Ladders
29 CFR 1910.28, Safety Requirements for Scaffolding
Written policies are available at installation safety offices. These offices are responsible for providing necessary safety support, and it is important that personnel interact freely and positively with them in a total safety program. Attitude is of great importance in ensuring a safe working environment.
13.2 Standard Operation and Safety Plans. Every operation that involves any type of hazard should have a standard operating plan incorporating safety and health considerations. Contracted operations should have safety and health requirements clearly addressed in the contract specifications. Personnel have the right to learn of any unsafe or unhealthful conditions or operations that they will be involved with and to receive training or equipment necessary to conduct their work safely. Personnel must also be able to report hazardous conditions and conditions suspected of being hazardous without fear of retaliation. Workers, on the other hand, also have the responsibility of conducting their work in a safe and healthful manner, correcting or reporting unsafe or unhealthful conditions, and wearing appropriate personal protection equipment. This includes reducing exposures as much as possible. Only necessary personnel should be present in the hazardous areas.
13.3 Hazard Communication. The best way to protect yourself from chemical products used in painting operations is to know their identification, the hazards associated with them, and their proper and safe use. Every employer must provide this information to his employees. Each container of hazardous material must be labeled to identify its contents. Unlabeled products should never be used. Other important information on chemicals, including health and safety data, precautions for handling, and emergency and first aid procedures, can be obtained from the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the product.
These sheets are required to be present when hazardous materials are being shipped, stored, or used in any operation. Finally, the activity must have a written program providing personnel with information about the hazardous chemicals used in each operation and an inventory of hazardous chemicals on site. The activity must also provide employees with necessary safety training.
13.3.1 Labels. Labels should be replaced, if they are torn, hat, or illegible. When materials are transferred to other containers for easier use, these containers must also be properly labeled. Labels usually contain the following information:
a) Complete identification – may include several alternative names
b) Basic warnings – list hazardous chemicals and precautions
c) First aid requirements – what to do when splashed on eyes or skin
d) Fire actions – how to properly extinguish fires
e) Treatment of spills – equipment and materials for cleaning up spills
f) Handling and storage procedures – safety equipment and practices for proper handling
g) Disposal procedures – describe methods for safe and legal disposal
13.3.2 Material Safety Data Sheets. MSDSs provide the following information:
a) Chemical identification – identify chemicals
b) Hazardous ingredient data – list hazardous chemicals and safety limits
c) Physical data – describe odor, appearance, etc., of
d) Fire and explosion data – list flash point and extinguishing media
e) Health hazards – symptoms of overexposure and emergency action
f) Reactivity data – stability and reactivity with other chemicals
g) Spill or leak procedures – clean-up and disposal procedures; always notify safety office
h) Special protection – necessary respirators, clothing, eye protection, etc.
i) Special precautions – special handling precautions, including safety signs and standby clean-up kits
Note: Specific requirements for personal protective
equipment and use of the chemical should be based on a local evaluation by an industrial hygienist or health professional.
13.4 Toxicity Hazards. Many toxic materials may be
encountered during cleaning and painting operation, such as organic solvents and lead – and chromate-containing pigments. Personnel working with toxic materials should be knowledgeable about how to protect themselves from them.
13.4.1 Entrance of Toxic Materials Into Body. Although toxic materials can enter the body during any part of a coating operation, surface preparation and coating application activities may present the greatest hazard. Toxic materials can enter the body by three different routes:
a) Inhaling in the lungs
b) Ingestion through the mouth
c) Absorption through the skin
220.127.116.11 Inhalation. Toxic vapors or suspended particles inhaled into the lungs may be rapidly taken into the rest of the body. Individual solvents in blends in paints vary widely in human toxicity. Exposures can be reduced with ventilation and respirator protection.
18.104.22.168 Ingestion. Ingestion through the mouth usually occurs from contaminated hands not washed before eating, drinking, or smoking. Good personal hygiene (hand washing, avoidance of clothing contamination and keeping tools/surfaces clean) should be practiced even when gloves are used.
22.214.171.124 Skin Absorption. Skin absorption must occur through contact. This can be minimized by use of protective clothing. Contaminated clothing should be removed and disposed of at the job site and be completely cleaned, and the contaminated person should thoroughly shower before leaving the job site. The appropriate protective clothing is paramount to preclude significant skin contact as some chemicals easily permeate (pass through) the protective material.
13.4.2 Types of Toxic Materials. Toxic substances are of four major categories:
a) Irritants – inflame eyes, nose, throat, and lungs
b) Asphixiants (e. g., carbon monoxide, nitrogen) – Interfere with oxygen assimilation or displaces available oxygen to breathe
c) Nerve poisons (organic solvents, lead compounds, etc.) – attack nervous system
d) Systemic poisons – affect heart, liver, kidney, or blood forming organs
13.5 Respiratory Hazards. There are four types of
a) Dusts – dry particles from grinding and blasting
b) Mists – liquid particles from cleaning and spraying
c) Gases and vapors of liquids – evaporated cleaning or paint solvent
d) Oxygen deficiencies – especially in confined areas
Dusts include smoke particles from combustion. Gases and some particles may not be seen by the naked eye. Any of these products resulting from painting operations may require a cartridge-type respirator. Specific recommendations for respiratory protection should come from a workplace evaluation of potential exposures.
13.6 Hazards in Different Painting Operations. Painting
procedures may include one or more of the following hazardous operations: surface preparation, paint application, and working
in high, confined, or remote places.
13.6.1 Surface Preparation. Surface preparation hazards occur in abrasive and water blasting operations, mechanical cleaning, chemical cleaning, and high temperature operations. Protection of workers and the environment from dust containing toxic metals (such as lead, cadmium, or chromate compounds) produced during removal of old paint is discussed in Section 3.
126.96.36.199 Abrasive and Water Blasting. Abrasive and water blasting are by far the most dangerous operations concerned with surface preparation for painting. High-pressure nozzles (over 100 psi for abrasive and over 30,000 psi for water blasting) pose major threats. Hoses and couplings must be checked for soundness, and the pot pressures must be checked to ensure that the maximum allowable pressures are not exceeded. The blast nozzle must have a deadman valve, so that it will automatically shut off, if it is lost by the blaster. No attempt should be made to override this or other safety devices. No safety omissions should be permitted, even for very small blasting jobs. The blasting area should be posted for no admittance, and the pot tender located in a protected area behind the blaster, so that no one is in the vicinity of the blaster. Each person in the operation should wear the proper safety equipment, including an air-supplied respirator (type CE) specifically designed for the blaster.
Isolation from the blaster and use of deadman valves are also important during water blasting. Electrical operations should be shut down at that time to prevent electrical shock. Care should also be taken to avoid slipping on wetted surfaces.
188.8.131.52 Mechanical Cleaning. Grinders, sanders, and other powered cleaning tools require special attention to meet the safety provisions of Subpart P of OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.
They should have safety shields or devices to protect eyes and
fingers. OSHA regulations do not permit the use of faulty hand and power tools such as cracked grinders and wheels or damaged rotary brushes. Power tools should only be operated as recommended by the manufacturer.
184.108.40.206 Chemical Cleaning. Chemical cleaning is inherently dangerous and requires special precautions. Chemicals must be properly labeled (refer to par. 13.3.1), stored, and used.
Chemicals should be stored off the floor in a secured and ventilated room separated from other chemicals with which they may react. Any shelving used for storage should be secured to the wall and have a lip on each shelf to prevent being accidentally knocked onto the floor.
Chemicals should be used in accordance with written standard operating procedures or the manufacturer’s instructions. Proper eye, face, hand, and skin protection should be taken by using appropriate chemical protective clothing, eye/face equipment and following recommended operating procedures when working with caustic chemicals or solvents. Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes (eye washes) and body (deluge showers) shall be provided in the work area for immediate emergency use. Contaminated personnel or the work areas should be appropriately cleaned and treated as soon as possible. Spill kits and instructions for their use should be available for each type of chemical.
220.127.116.11 High Temperature Operations. High temperature cleaning can be achieved with steam, flame, or heat guns. They should be thermostatically controlled and used only where appropriate and according to standard operating procedures. Insulated gloves should be used where necessary to protect hands from heat.
13.6.2 Painting Operations. Hazards occur during storage, mixing, and application of paints.
18.104.22.168 Storage of Paints. Coating materials should be stored off the floor under cover in secured and well ventilated areas away from sparks, flames, and direct sunshine. The temperature should be well below the flash point of stored products. Flash point is the minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off enough vapor to become ignited in the presence of a spark or flame. Flammable liquids such as turpentine and toluene have flash points below 100 degrees F; combustible liquids have flash points of 100 degrees F or greater. The flash points of individual solvents vary greatly. So do the explosive limits – the concentration range in air at which combustion may occur.
Any shelving used for storage should be secured to the wall and have a lip on each shelf to prevent being accidentally knocked onto the floor. Equipment for removal of spills should be present.
22.214.171.124 Mixing and Applying Paints. Mixing and application operations have associated spill, fire, and toxicity hazards.
Eye protection, gloves, and other appropriate equipment and clothing should be used during paint mixing operations. Individual solvents in blends in paints vary widely both in solvency and in human toxicity. They can remove moisture and natural oils from the skin to make it more sensitive to other irritants.
a) When mixing and applying paints, the following precautions should be observed:
(1) Protect eyes, face, hands, and skin
(2) Keep paint well below flash point
(3) Use in well ventilated areas. Consult the facility’s safety office, if in doubt, for evaluation of the work space
(4) Use slow-speed stirrers to prevent buildup of
(5) Permit no matches, sparks, or flames in area
(6) Ground equipment and work
b) When spraying paint:
(1) Ground equipment and metal work
(2) Use only non-sparking tools
(3) Permit no matches, open flames, or smoking in
(4) Perform in a well ventilated area or in an
Airless guns should only be used by trained personnel and with protective guards because, at the high pressures (over 2000 psi), paint droplets can penetrate flesh. They should never be pointed at any part of the body, and their nozzle guards should never be removed.
13.6.3 Work in High, Confined, and Remote Places. Work in high, confined, and remote places presents special hazards.
126.96.36.199 Work in High Places. Working safely in high places requires the proper use of equipment designed to provide access to the work site. Safety requirements for ladders, scaffolding, and stages can be found in OSHA Safety and Health Standards (29 CFR 1910), Paragraphs 1910.25 (Portable Wood Ladders), 1910.26 (Portable Metal Ladders), 1910.28 (Safety Requirements for Scaffolding), and 1910.29 (Manually Propelled Ladder Stands and Scaffolds (Towers)).
a) General requirements for ladders used in painting operations include
(1) Do not use if rungs/steps are loose, bent, or
(2) Keep ladders away from power lines
(3) Never use as horizontal scaffold members
(4) Use only as intentionally designed
b) General requirements for scaffolds include:
(1) The footing/anchorage shall be sound and rigid (do not use bricks, boxes, etc., to support)
(2) Have rigid guard rails (never ropes) and toeboards or rails
(3) Keep them clean and free of abrasive, mud, grease, and other debris
(4) Remove unnecessary equipment
(5) Keep platforms level at all times
(6) Regular inspection and repair, as necessary
(7) Never use ladders on their platforms to add
(8) Do not move when occupied
c) Additional requirements for swing (suspended) scaffolds suspended by block and tackle are:
(1) Secure life lines to personnel on them
(2) Never allow then to swing freely
(3) Limit to two the number of personnel on them
(4) Follow OSHA requirements for suspension
d) Additional requirements for rolling scaffolds are:
(1) Always set caster brakes when in a fixed
(2) Never ride while moving
(3) Remove materials from platform before moving
Permanent scaffolding should be built for routine maintenance operations on aircraft or other standard configurations. Powered lift platforms or boom machines are often used to reach high places. Some extend as high as 100 feet. Scissor lifts, the most common type, only go straight up. Booms can provide greater access where there are obstructions in the way. Continuous forced-air ventilation may be used to control any hazardous atmosphere. Gas monitoring during the operation may be necessary where unsafe conditions could develop. When painting bridges, towers, or other tall structures, safety nets or harnesses should be utilized. They not only provide safety but also result in better workmanship. Safety harnesses are much preferred to safety belts because they distribute the shock from the safety line. Some harnesses have breakaway sections to further distribute the shock. Suppliers of harnesses provide detailed instructions for proper use.
188.8.131.52 Confined Areas. Confined areas such as fuel storage tanks, boilers, and utility tunnels present the following hazards:
a) Buildup of flammable or explosive atmospheres or
b) Buildup of toxic atmospheres or materials
c) Insufficient oxygen to support life
d) Excess oxygen posing fire or explosion hazard
Confined areas being cleaned or painted should be well ventilated to prevent the accumulation of toxic or combustible airborne contaminants. Mechanical equipment should be grounded, along with conductive substrates being cleaned or coated, to prevent sparking. Otherwise, an explosion may occur.
Confined spaces with limited ventilation and access may have hazards that are not easily detected. They should be checked for safety requirements before entering. Specific safety requirements for confined spaces can be found in OSHA Safety and Health Standards (29 CFR 1910) Paragraph 146 (Permit Required Confined Spaces). Paints with "safety solvents" (relatively high flash points) should be used in these areas. Hand and power tools and other electrical equipment including lighting should be non-sparking and explosion-proof. Because paint solvent vapors are heavier than air, ventilation of confined spaces requires exit of contaminated air from the lowest point. Other special considerations may apply. Installation safety offices generally provide guidance and support for confined space operations.
13.6.4 Remote Areas. When doing field work at remote locations, personnel should have a response plan for emergencies. Access to a telephone and medical treatment should be established. Knowledge of first aid, especially CPR, for immediate action is also beneficial.
13.7 Personal Protective Equipment. Hazards in painting
operations can be greatly reduced by use of protective clothing, respirators, and other personal protective equipment.
13.7.1 Clothing. Protective garments must resist chemical attack from three different routes of entry:
a) Permeation – chemical works its way through the
b) Penetration – entry through physical imperfection
c) Degradation – properties of material chemically
Selection of the chemical protective clothing must be based on the chemical, the operation (i. e., need for abrasion resistance), and the effectiveness of the clothing material as a barrier against the chemical. Contaminated clothing should be discarded at the job site or thoroughly cleaned before reuse.
Personnel exposed to contamination should thoroughly shower and put on clean clothes before leaving work area. Torn clothing should not be worn, because it can get caught in machinery or on structural projections. Trouser cuffs and ties present a similar problem.
184.108.40.206 Gloves. Gloves come in different lengths and chemical compositions. The length should provide full protection, and the material should be resistant to the chemicals and materials with which it will come into contact. Selection of the right work glove can protect you from unnecessary injury or contamination. Commonly used protective gloves include:
a) Disposable gloves – usually lightweight plastic; protect from mild irritants
b) Fabric gloves – cotton or other fabric; improve grip; minimal protection from contaminants
c) Rubber gloves – may also be of different plastics; protection from chemical contamination
d) Leather gloves – protect from abrasion
e) Metal mesh gloves – protect from cuts/scratches; used with cutting tools
f) Aluminized gloves – insulates hands from intense
13.7.2 Protective Headgear. Head injuries can be very devastating and can result in brain damage or death. Selection of the proper head protection for different hazards is especially important. Protective headgear includes:
a) Hard hats
b) Bump hats
c) Hair covers
220.127.116.11 Hard Hats. Hard hats are made of rigid, impact – resistant, nonflammable materials such as fiberglass or thermoplastics. A network of straps and harnesses holds the shell on the head and serves as a cushion. A full-brimmed hard hat provides general protection to the head, neck, and shoulders,
while the visored brim which does not, is often used in confined spaces. Hard hats must be worn in areas designated to require them.
18.104.22.168 Bump Hats. Bump hats are made of lightweight plastic that only protect the head from minor bumps. They should be worn only where there are minor head hazards and never as a substitute for a hard hat.
22.214.171.124 Hair Covers. Hair covers are made of breathable fabric or lightweight materials and are adjustable to fit properly.
They are intended to prevent hair from becoming caught in moving machine parts.
13.7.3 Eye Protection. Installation safety offices have eye protection equipment available in many forms to protect eyes from flying particles, dust, sparks, splashes, and harmful rays. The appropriate type of eye protection should be used for each job.
126.96.36.199 Safety Glasses. Safety glasses have impact-resistant frames and lenses that meet OSHA and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. Safety glasses may also have side shields, cups, or tinted lens to provide additional protection. Assistance in procuring safety glasses with prescription lenses may be available at the safety office. Safety glasses should be cleaned as described by the supplier and stored in a clean, dry place available for use when needed.
188.8.131.52 Safety Goggles. Safety goggles may be impact resistant, or provide chemical splash protection or optical radiation protection. The appropriate goggle should be procured and used for that purpose only. Goggles form a secure seal around each eye to provide protection from all sides. They may have direct or indirect ventilation to eliminate fogging.
184.108.40.206 Safety Shields. Safety shields or helmets have sheets of clear, resistant plastic to protect the face from splash or flying particles during grinding and welding operations or when working with molten materials. Safety shields are ordinarily worn with goggles or safety glasses to provide additional protection.
13.7.4 Hearing Protection. Hearing loss occurs over time from repeated exposure to excessively loud noises. Muffs, plugs, and canal caps offer a variety of devices to protect our hearing. Check the noise reduction rating (NRR) provided with each device to determine its noise protection capabilities.
220.127.116.11 Ear Muffs. Ear muffs come in a variety of styles.
Most have spring-loaded head bands to secure them in place covering the entire ear. Ear muffs can reduce noise levels by 15 to 30 decibels.
18.104.22.168 Ear Plugs. Ear plugs of deformable rubber or plastic materials are positioned in the outer part of the ear. Ear plugs may be disposable or reusable. The latter should be cleaned and properly stored after use.
22.214.171.124 Canal Caps. Canal caps (headband plugs) close off the ear canal at its opening. A flexible headband ensures a close fit. Canal caps must also be cleaned and properly stored after use.
13.7.5 Safety Shoes. About 12,000 accidental foot injuries occur each year. Steel-reinforced shoes are designed to protect feet from common machine accidents – falling or rolling objects, cuts, and punctures. The entire toe box and insole are ordinarily reinforced.
Safety boots offer more protection from splash.
Neoprene or nitrile boots are often required when handling caustics, solvents, or oils. Quick-release fasteners may permit speedy removal in case a hazardous substance gets in the boot. Slip-resistant soles are required for both shoes and boots, if a slip hazard is present.
13.7.6 Respirators/Ventilation. Respiratory hazards can be minimized by a good ventilation system. Note that respiratory protection is considered a secondary line of defense to protect the worker when ventilation cannot control exposures.
a) Further protection can be provided by one of the following types of respirator:
(1) Disposable dust masks/filters (fiber masks over nose and mouth filter particulates)
(2) Half masks – fits over nose and mouth; cartridges absorb or trap the contaminate; select the appropriate cartridge for the particulate (dust) or vapor
(3) Full face mask (they also protect eyes and face; vapors absorbed by canisters or cartridges; may also have dust filter)
(4) Air-supplied respirators (air from line or self-contained; positive air pressure in helmet or mask; provides greatest protection)
b) Personnel using respirators must do the following for full protection from respiratory hazards:
(1) Receive medical examination before wearing
(2) Receive knowledge of respiratory hazard
(3) Receive proper respirator training
(4) Get proper respirator fitting and testing
(5) Keep the respirator clean and properly stored
(6) Use the right respirator/cartridge for the job
(7) Receive periodic medical monitoring
13.8 Safety Program. A safety program should be a vital part
of every shop conducting cleaning or painting operations. Each routine operation should have a standard operating procedure that includes a safety plan. Each non-routine operation should have a special operating plan that includes safety. Each worker should receive periodic training to keep him aware of pertinent Government regulations, potential health hazards, and measures that may be taken to minimize the hazards.