Help make your auto body paint spray booth a smooth operation
A smooth operation at your auto body service shop starts with meeting the current codes and standards from the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®)
by Tyler Miller
Senior Account Executive at State Auto
Smooth is a very important word when it comes to auto body paint jobs. You want to avoid that orange peel effect and get a beautifully smooth finish. You also want the process itself to go smoothly, so you don't end up with a fire or explosion in your paint spray booth.
A smooth operation at your auto body service shop starts with meeting the current codes and standards from the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®). Specifically, NFPA 33 is the code that provides requirements to reduce fire and explosion hazards when dealing with spray application processes that use flammable or combustible materials. It's important for the auto body servicing and related industries that use these types of operations.
Your insurance program will likely require that you at least meet the standards in NFPA 33, plus national fire codes. You're probably also required to have a paint spray booth with an automatic sprinkler system. We insure many auto body service shops at State Auto, and we require all to have and to follow the proper fire protection requirements.
As an insurance company, we see what happens when the proper safety conditions aren't achieved. Our trained Risk Engineering staff can offer suggestions to help further reduce the exposure to hazards and provide guidance on who and where to go, for assistance on specific topics.
1. Implement a routine - and well-documented - maintenance program. Your program should include removal and cleaning of overspray from the walls, floors and ceilings of spray booths. The ventilation ducts and filters in modern, quality spray booths should also be serviced regularly. When overspray material builds up, it can act as a propellant for fire.
2. Be sure that the proper ventilation system has been installed. This works towards keeping the potentially dangerous atmosphere controlled in your shop.
3. Make sure you use explosion proof lighting and fire rated wiring only. Review the lighting and wiring installed in the booth.
4. If you're using a spray booth, you're also using paints and stains. These highly flammable materials will need to be stored on site. Make sure paints and stains are stored in properly labeled containers with pressure release valves. Keep them in the smallest quantities possible. And store them indoors, in an approved fire rated cabinet, to help contain any explosion or fire.
Maintain a high standard for your operations - everything from the quality of your spray booth and materials, to the skills and training of your staff, and the detailed care you take in your work - you can help to reduce your risk of a potentially dangerous and costly situation.
This article is intended for general information purposes only, and is not an insurance policy. State Auto makes no representations or guarantee as to the correctness or sufficiency of any information contained herein, nor guarantees results based upon use of this information. State Auto does not warrant that reliance upon this document will prevent accident or losses or satisfy federal, state or local codes, ordinances or regulations. If expert assistance is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The reader assumes the entire risk as to use of this information.