The latest revisions to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes related to paint booths and finishing systems focus on the reorganization of content so that it is easier to comprehend.
Standards for paint booths, powder coating booths and paint mix rooms are presented differently in the 2019 updates of the 2018 edition of NFPA 33, which provides requirements to mitigate fire and explosion hazards of spray application processes that use flammable or combustible materials.
Geoff Raifsnider, a mechanical engineer for Global Finishing Solutions (GFS), has been a part of the NFPA 33 technical committee since 2009 and currently serves as the secretary. He is also involved in revising the International Fire Code (IFC) and serves on an American Society of Safety Professionals committee.
Among the notable revisions to NFPA 33:
Spray booths and powder coating booths
Content was reorganized to help make the requirements clearer. The definition of a paint booth is more clearly explained, and the code now states when a paint booth is required. There is also additional clarity regarding construction requirements — Chapter 5 specifies why some paint booths need to be built with 20-gauge galvanized steel, while 18-gauge galvanized steel is suitable for others.
Paint mix rooms
Changes were implemented regarding the definition of what areas need to be protected, for the safety of painters. The code previously stated that ventilation needed to stay on all the time, while the new requirements are not as restrictive.
Changes were implemented for the heating of recirculated air in a paint booth. Previously, the heater had to be located outside the recirculated air path. It now can be located in the recirculated air path, as long as the surface temperature of the heater does not exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Figures on electrical classification were updated for clarity, with scales of images modified to be more accurate. The code itself did not change.
On the maintenance side, requirements were added to help keep equipment running properly. The changes focus less on the engineer and more on what operators can do to protect their investment.
“GFS adopts the most current edition of any code or standard available to ensure our equipment is the safest in the industry and for the protection of our customers and their businesses,” Raifsnider said.