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IN FOCUS


Types of RPE


spot light on the blast operatives helmet / hand held light for guidance to the work area.


• Task lighting for the work force, is this adequate? What about general lighting - do you feel this needs to be improved?





Is the lighting safe? Does it need to be intrinsically safe - always worth checking - especially in confined space areas.


THE DANGER OF EXPLOSION/FIRE The key factor in preventing an explosion or fire, when considering the application of coatings in the work area, is elimination of naked flames, sparks and any ignition sources. Welding, cutting or grinding in the vicinity of


Detailed attention must be given to the following points whilst painting/grit blasting activities are being inspected:- • Danger of explosion or fire. •


Provision of a suitable breathing environment for workers and the inspectors.


• •


Extraction and ventilation - can it be improved? Is it working correctly?


Prevention of skin irritation problems by using barrier creams/gloves. Are the gloves the correct type for the product? Check the sypol/coshh?


• Do you really need to be in there? Can you do the inspections when the air is clear and visibility is far better?





Limit your time in the area, and ask if you need to be in there at all - only go in if deemed absolutely necessary. ‘Idol chat / conversation’ can cause individuals to remove their RPE to talk to each other.


• Most face fitted RPE should only be worn for <1hr. This is as quoted in the HSG53 guideline document, which allows for the selection process of RPE / protection factor and states the required wear time parameters <1hr. The respirator will naturally become uncomfortable after 1hr wear time and the individual will be adjusting it or in more cases than not, removing it to re-adjust. The re-adjustment / wipe out clean exercise should be carried out away from the work area, maybe in a pod or segregated area adjacent to the work face that is in a clean air environment. This can be where the individuals come out of the work area, clean the mask with medi wipes and re-fit before going back into the encapsulation for a further 1hr.


• Who will notify you that it is safe to enter a blast or paint area? Has a permit to enter system been implemented? Do you know how it works?


• Can you see when you go in? More often than not the inspector is crawling around on his hands and knees and heading for the


40 PCE APRIL-JUNE 2013


paint application should be forbidden until paint fumes are totally dispersed. Smoking must be prohibited in the vicinity of paint application. Airless spray equipment must be earthed (because of the danger of static electricity build-up). Mobile telephones and electronic devices must not be used in the vicinity of paint application until all paint fumes are totally dispersed.


PROTECT THE INSPECTOR ASWELL AS THE APPLICATOR Painters must wear protective clothing, e.g. overalls, gloves, and suitable footwear of non- spark type if deemed necessary. However the protection must be correct. The inspector must adopt the same protection as the applicator if the Risk Assessment/sypol/coshh dictates this.


SKIN IRRITATION If the correct protective clothing has been worn, e.g. overalls, gloves, air fed hood etc, no symptoms of discomfort should be experienced in terms of skin irritation. Any small areas not protected by clothing, e.g. wrists or the neck area, can be treated with a non-greasy barrier cream. (Petroleum jelly is not recommended as this can assist the transport of solvents into the skin and should be considered if you see an applicator with this on his face. Spraying without eye protection is a complete non starter!) Any areas of skin accidentally contaminated


with paint must be thoroughly washed with soap and water. Skin conditioner that is designed to replace the natural oils in the skin can be used daily to prevent dry irritant skin conditions.


FINAL NOTE ON SAFETY FOR THE INSPECTOR Have you had a medical? If you are unsure what protection to wear for any inspection activities, be it Grit blasting or painting activities, request to see the RPE / PPE assessment process. How has it been carried out? What information is available to demonstrate this has been done correctly? Do you require any specific medical tests to comply with the results of the assessments? So often do we see inspectors taking wet film thickness readings within the encapsulation area,


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