Safety is the #1 consideration of powder coaters. Every coater must put safety considerations top of their list from proper eye protection to fire prevention to training personnel how to handle a dangerous situation. Always remember: SAFETY FIRST!
PERSONNEL SAFETY TRAINING
In any human activity involving potential hazard, the value of training cannot be over emphasized. Those employees associated with the operation of a powder coating facility should be thoroughly familiarized with the functioning of all components and motivated to maintain the equipment in proper working order. Periodic refresher sessions will keep employees proficiency at a high level.
Person protection equipment (PPE) like proper eye and face protection must be worn when employees are working at or near a conveyor system carrying racking devices and hanger hooks.
Personal cleanliness should be maintained at all times. Soap and water clean up to remove powder from the skin at break time and after the shift should be encouraged. Realistic rules must be set for the use of filter type respirators any time employees are exposed to dusty conditions. Specific instructions should be given to assure that they do not use air blast nozzles to blow off powder from the skin.
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Design of the spray booth and recovery system can aid in worker safety. The booth opening, velocity of airflow must be arranged to assure the capture and containment of over-sprayed powder. The fan capacity of the recovery system must be sized to assure that enough air is drawn through the booth to prevent formation of explosive powder/air concentrations. Proper booth filters need to be installed.
CONTROL OF IGNITION SOURCES
Since electrically isolated conductive objects in the area of an electrostatic spray gun may accumulate sufficient charge to form arcs to ground, it becomes necessary for the finisher to thoroughly ground all conductive objects in the spray area. This must include the conveyor and parts carried by it, all components of the spray booth, ductwork, and recovery system, and the operator himself.
Inter-locking of the system will assure that the system is only operated when the collection system is in operation. The powder/air concentration levels can only remain below the explosive limits when there is adequate exhaust airflow. Therefore, the spray gun triggering device must be interlocked with the exhaust fan to prevent its functioning when the fan is shut down.
The application of ” Explosion Suppression Equipment ” such as a fire extinguishing system that commonly uses halogen gases propelled by pyrotechnic devices can stop an explosion from occurring within the collection system.
Sprinkler systems can only react when the heat intensity is high enough to melt the lead retainer. Unfortunately by that time the fire, and/or explosion, would be out of control. Make sure and take extra care around your sprinkler system. If the lead retainer is accidentally bumped during the cleaning operation the sprinklers will start and the water will enter the collection system and cause hours, if not days, of down time to replace filters and dry out the recovery system.
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