Safety Tip – PPE for Working in the Rig and Cleaning Guns

Category: Safety, Spray Foam Contractors   Posted by: demilec

Many spray foam applicators tend to think using proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is only required when spraying or working around the sprayer.  This is not the case.  We need to protect our workers from hazard any time they are in the spray rig, especially when they’re cleaning guns.

The spray rig is arguably the most potentially hazardous environment our applicators work in.  There are high-pressure hoses, high-voltage electric wires and connections, and several chemicals like cleaning solvents, some of which are highly volatile.  There are also moving machine and engine parts, and hot surfaces, not to mention the exhaust from generators and trucks.

Common practice is to keep about 500 psi on the proportioner when the rig is shut down for transport so even when nothing’s running there’s a danger of a high-pressure hose suddenly leaking and spraying chemicals around the rig.

Before entering the spray rig all personnel must don safety glasses and gloves appropriate to the task they’re engaged in.  This is the minimum PPE required for every entry to the spray rig, but depending on the task there could be additional levels of protection needed.  For instance, if the warehouseman is loading drums into the rig, he must use leather gloves and steel-toed boots in addition to his safety glasses.

Cleaning guns and equipment with solvents in the back of the spray rig is potentially very hazardous.  The first level of protection should be engineering controls such as an exhaust hood to vent the VOCs from the rig and protect the worker from exposure.  The second level is proper PPE which includes a chemically resistant apron, chemically resistant gloves and a face shield in addition to the safety glasses already on before the workers enters the rig.  Standard spray suits and common nitrile gloves are not adequate protection from most solvents so additional protection must always be used.  Proper respirators are also required when handling many solvents.

Always read the Material Safety Data Sheet for PPE required when handling chemicals.  Also be aware that many chemicals are reactive with others and can produce gasses that are highly toxic so using them one at a time and not mixing chemicals is the best practice.

Use common sense and read the MSDS.  We, at Demilec, want you to be a valuable member of the Demilec Family of applicators for decades to come, and we can all work safely if we abide by OSHA requirements.

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