Safety concerns when using paint spray booths are paramount, as there are a number of hazards which can impact the wellbeing of your staff. The most obvious of which is combustibility – when using a fine spray of chemicals, you have to be careful to keep the area clear of naked flames or sparks, as well as ensure the construction of the booth meets regulations and there are adequate fire safety measures in place.
However, there are more dangers than the most obvious ones; One of the hazards that might surprise you is legionella bacteria, the cause of the sometimes fatal Legionnaires’ disease. Popularly associated with poorly maintained air conditioning systems, the bacteria can thrive in any place where there is stagnant, warm water.
Legionella in paint spray booths
Water wash systems will collect all the paint overspray and trap it in reservoirs where it breaks down into sludge. If the sludge is not removed on a regular basis, it becomes a breeding ground for various aerobic bacteria, including legionella.
Ideal growing conditions for the legionella bacteria are moisture, oxygen and still, sludgy water that’s between 20oC and 45oC – a badly maintained paint spray booth system will provide all of the above. This is why it’s so important to firstly keep the booth clean and also to carry out regular legionella testing to ensure the safety of your workers.
It’s not just about legionella
If you don’t properly maintain the booth and treat the water in the system, the contamination can impact your business in more ways than legionella. The conditions that are right for the legionella bacteria to thrive will enable other bacteria to thrive too, some of which can cause odour problems that will be unpleasant and potentially very unhealthy for your staff. The build-up of sludge can block pipes and pumps, causing a hold up in production, and it is also likely to cause corrosion which will shorten the lifespan of your machinery.
If you would like to find out more about the risk of legionella bacteria in your spray paint system, contact us to arrange a professional, expert risk assessment.