Preventing a fire in a spray booth is one of the most important concerns any finishing shop has. Sadly, we hear stories in the news about fires starting in or around the paint booth. Since a finishing operation typically involves heat, electricity, paint and dust, it’s no wonder fires can and do occur. To prevent this, operators must take great care to maintain their equipment according to the booth manufacturer’s requirements, and important standards should be followed.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an international, nonprofit organization, provides and advocates more than 300 consensus codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effect of fires. One of these standards, NFPA 33, focuses exclusively on spray applications. All spray booth products should be in compliance with NFPA 33 to ensure a safe finishing environment.
Geoff Raifsnider, a GFS engineer, serves on the NFPA 33 technical committee. Geoff brought to our attention some of the key points of revision in the 2011 release of the NFPA 33 code that all spray booth owners and operators should be aware of. These points of revision include:
- The definition of ambient (important in booths with cure mode)
- Clarification of what is and what is not a spray area (important for electrical area classification and fire protection)
- The reduction of Division 2 areas outside booth openings
- Clarification of electrical area classification in recirculation booths
- Clarification of action required when a door is opened while a booth is in cure mode.
- An exception regarding explosion relief in paint booths with cure mode.