The construction and maintenance of vehicles often involve refurbishment or new application spray finishes of suitable paint such as a marine grade finish. The primary dangers involved with the presence of these gases include both fires and explosions as a result of using flammable paints and coatings, as well as exposure to personnel to chemical hazards and toxic substances. Often completed in confined spaces, if not correctly and adequately ventilated, can cause ill health for those involved in the process.
During the spray process, paint particles are released into the atmosphere through the spray nozzle which increases the release of hazardous vapours. Though safer methods have been developed including less toxic coatings, shipyard employers must continue to take precautions to avoid exposure to these fumes.
Effective ventilation should be used continuously throughout the paint process to exhaust toxic fumes away from the working area and potential ignition sources to keep concentrations of flammable vapours low. Confined or closed booths used for smaller units will require additional supply ventilation in the form of axial or centrifugal fans. Supply air systems will incorporate filters to ensure that dust and particles are not forced into the booth which may embed within the new paintwork. Currently, there are no standard fans or methods used for air movement within spray booths and spray painting within shipyards with customers choosing a wide range of industrial products including bifurcated, axial fans, centrifugal fans or in-line ranges. Where ships are typically too large to be contained within a booth, natural ventilation will ensure that the supply air is adequate, while an isolated fan unit would typically be used to exhaust away from the hazardous fumes from the working personnel.
ATEX fans may also be required where paint mixtures are used that contain highly toxic, flammable and explosive solvents with flash points below 80 degrees Celsius. For more information on industrial fans for use within marine and shipyard applications visit our technical pages.