Created 13/10/2022 by Andy Potts
Complying with CoSHH Regulations (2002) should be a top priority for any industrial paint shop. Aside from the hefty fines that come with a breach, non-compliance puts your greatest asset at risk - your workforce. But what does this mean in practice? Employers need to create a paint shop culture that embraces worker safety. Monitoring exposure, health surveillance and best practice working procedures help to achieve this.
You are responsible for knowing which of the substances that you use in your paint shop are subject to work exposure limits (WELs). You must also monitor exposure to ensure that the control measures that you have in place are working effectively. In the paint shop environment, monitoring takes the form of:
You can do this by carrying out personal air monitoring. This is the process of measuring the level of a hazardous substance in the air that the painter is breathing while the task is underway.
The only way to determine the level of exposure to isocyanate (ISO) is with a urine test. This will tell you if the combination of control measures in place is sufficient. The worker should give an end-of-shift sample.
As a minimum, all sprayers and others who may be potentially exposed to ISOs need to provide a urine sample yearly. New employees should give a sample in the first few months of employment to check that controls are providing protection.
In the event of a test indicating that exposure controls are failing, there must be further investigation and a review of control measures. Repeat tests once controls have been implemented fully.
NOTE: Urine testing only provides information about exposure. It does not give information about a person's health.
Products that contain ISOs are a leading cause of occupational asthma. For this reason, CoSHH Regulations (2002) require that spray shops provide health surveillance for paint sprayers.
In most circumstances, health surveillance will involve:
Any medically proven cases of occupational asthma or dermatitis caused by isocyanate exposure must be reported under RIDDOR.
Paint shop custom and practice must always support worker health and safety. Make sure that someone in your paint shop is responsible for implementing and overseeing the following protocols and practices.
Personal protective equipment and respiratory protective equipment only prevent exposure when they are worn, used correctly and in good working order. Make sure that all painters:
It's not uncommon for a sprayer to lift their visor to check the quality of their work straight after spraying. This is poor practice as it can cause significant exposure to invisible paint mist that takes up to 30 minutes to clear from the booth. Correct protocol is to:
You can find more detailed information about spray booth maintenance and compliance in our free guide
Operate the booth at a slightly lower air pressure than the surroundings (at 'negative pressure').
This prevents paint mist escaping into the workshop.
Check air pressure daily.
How does your working practice stack up? Are you confident that your industrial paint shop operations comply with CoSHH (2002) Regulations and provide a safe working environment for your painters? If you'd like the objective input of one of our specialist advisors, contact usto arrange a free site visit and paint shop audit.
Need more information before buying a booth? Our Total Paint Shop Support Team can help you with any enquiry.
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