U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Surface Preparation and Preservation
The vapors produced by volatile solvents used in spray painting can cause fires and explosions. A spark from electrical equipment or static discharge can be enough to ignite volatile vapors.
Solution 1: Monitoring
Using a handheld meter to monitor for flammable gas concentration, which is typically expressed as a percent of the lower explosive limit (LEL).
Solution 2: Ventilation
Adequate ventilation must be provided to prevent paint-related explosions and fires which can result in serious injury or death.
Solution 3: Identification
Posting warnings can inform other workers of fire and explosion risks related to shipyard painting processes.
Solution 4: Explosion-Proof Lighting
Using explosion-proof lighting (e.g., examples A and B) is required in spaces where explosive vapors may reach 10 percent of the LEL. Non-explosion-proof lighting (e.g., example C) must never be used in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Solution 5: Authorization
Implement an effective hot-work permit system to ensure that other work will not create an ignition source in adjacent spaces or spaces where newly-applied paint is still curing. The hot-work permit process requires a competent person to test for fire or explosion hazards and then post written notice to prohibiting hot work if these hazards exist or permit work if absent; while implementing appropriate controls (e.g., atmospheric monitoring to verify that conditions within the space remain the same).