PPE for Powder Coating

Powder Coating has been a popular metal coating for around 30 years and is critical for some manufacturers. It helps prevent corrosion and it gives the metal a pleasing appearance, aesthetically speaking. Most metals can be powder coated and if heated to high enough temperatures, other materials such as plastic, glass, wood, and composites can be powder coated as well.  As useful as powder coating is, the process of powder coating does have its dangers, which is why it's always important to have PPE or Personal Protection Equipment available that can keep you safe.

Difficulties with Providing PPE

In many factory settings, it's important to have the right protective clothing available. But PPE can often be damaged through normal wear and tear and buying permanent protective clothing can become expensive, especially if you have more than one person applying the powder coating. A better solution is to purchase affordable disposable protective clothing for each person who applies the powder coating, and replace the PPE as it becomes necessary.

Hazards Associated with Applying Powder Coating

There are a number of inherent risks when it comes to applying powder coating. Some are obvious, some not so obvious. The risks to applying powder coatings include:

  • Injury while working with machines that apply the powder coating
  • Chemical splashes from manual spray wand systems that are used to clean the medium before being powder coated
  • Potential damage to lungs and airways due to inhalation of the powder coating and other chemicals
  • Burns due to accidental combustion of the powder coating media
  • Chemical burns and potential eye damage from alkalines and acids in manual spray wand systems, methyl ethyl ketone vapors, and powder coating dust.

Although some powder coating machines have built-in safety mechanisms that eliminate the need for PPE in most circumstances, those who operate the machines and use manual systems for applying powder coat must wear PPE to avoid the potential health risks mentioned above.

What Kinds of PPE Do You Need to Wear While Powder Coating?

Because personnel are at risk of injury while powder coating, it's imperative that they wear appropriate disposable protective clothing and PPE to ensure their safety. Depending on the circumstances, your employees will need the following equipment:

  • A breathable air supply or full respirator.
  • Safety glasses that seal to protect the eyes from particulates.
  • Hard hats when working in areas where there are machines that have moving parts.
  • Gloves that protect the hands.
  • A suit that protects the wearer from dangerous or noxious particles such as International EnviroGuard's Body Filter 95+® that is made to keep out hazardous and noxious particulates down to 0.3 microns in size.
  • A suit that protects employees who work automated equipment that provides some level of protection to them. International EnviroGuard's MicroGuard MP® is designed to protect workers from particulates and minor splash.

You may notice that the types of suits depend highly on the types of risks associated with the job at hand. For example, if you do not operate washers that use dangerous chemicals, it's unlikely that you would need to protect from dangerous chemical splashes.

Choosing the Right Gear for the Right Job

When it comes to the safety of your employees, it's imperative that they wear PPE to ensure their safety. The following are suggestions for the type of gear they need to protect them at their jobs:

Manual Media Blast Systems

As the name implies, the person must enter the cubicle to apply the powder coating to the medium. The person is at risk of inhaling particulates due to the nature of powder coating. The worker is also under the potential risk of starting a flash fire due to electro charged particulates and potential sparks due to lack of grounding and faulty equipment. For these situations, we recommend the following PPE:

  • A breathable air supply or full respirator.
  • Safety glasses and full face shields that seal to protect the eyes from particulates.
  • Heavy gloves to protect hands.
  • A suit that protects the wearer from dangerous or noxious particles such as International EnviroGuard's Body Filter 95+® that is made to keep out hazardous and noxious particulates down to 0.3 microns in size.
  • A suit that protects the wearer from dangerous flash fires that can occur with powder dust. International EnviroGuard's PyroGuard FR® is designed to be worn over fire retardant clothing to protect them so that they last longer. International EnviroGuard's PyroGuard CRFR™ protects against chemical splashes and provides flame retardancy. It too is designed to be word over fire retardant clothing.

Manual Spray Wand Systems

Manual spray wand systems are used to clean the medium before applying the powder coating. These systems use dangerous chemicals and solvents to clean the object that needs to be powder coated.

  • A suit that protects the wearer from dangerous chemical splashes such as International EnviroGuard's ChemSplash® 1 or ChemSplash® 2. Both of these PPE are designed for extremely hazardous environments where chemical splashes can occur.
  • A breathable air supply or full respirator.
  • A full face shield to protect against splashes.
  • Heavy gloves to protect hands.

Automatic Systems

Automatic systems include automated media blast systems, automated washers, and automated powder coating systems. Although these systems do not usually require manual intervention, you need to protect employees from contaminants and splashes, as well as potential injury with the machines.

If you'd like to find out more on how International EnviroGuard can help keep you and your employees safe, contact us on the web or call us directly at 1-800-345-5972.