Anyone with a spraybooth for commercial vehicles will have tackled the issue of accessing all areas of the paint job in hand. When you’re faced with working at height, it can be difficult to know what method of access to use in order to comply with the required procedures for working at height, whilst also conforming to the regulations of working in areas at risk of explosion. CVW gets some advice from Junair.
The Working at Height Regulations state that when you have a high risk of a fall, or when the job has a duration of over 30 minutes, means other than ladders should be taken into consideration. A wall- mounted access platform is ideal in these situations. Using a three-dimensional platform allows the user to move on a vertical or horizontal plane, as well as being able to move towards or away from the paint job. This ensures that, with minimum time and effort, the painter can access the entire job without having to ascend and descend ladders whilst carrying spraying equipment and wearing cumbersome PPE.
In addition to height considerations, there are the stringent ATEX regulations to take into account. ATEX is an acronym for ATmosphere EXplosive and, as the name would suggest, its regulations are in place to protect workers from explosive atmospheres. An explosive atmosphere is deemed as “an atmosphere containing a mixture of flammable gases, vapours, mists or dust with air, under specific atmospheric conditions in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion propagates to the flammable mixture”.
In the case of spraybooths, this boils down to the fact that certain paints contain flammable solvents which in turn release flammable fumes. In order to mitigate the hazard of explosion, ATEX rated equipment is required for use within the spraybooth. This narrows the number of available personnel access platforms down to just those with pneumatic or hydraulic controls.
Pneumatic and hydraulic access platforms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with a range of benefits from single man lifts working on two dimensions through to multi-personnel lifts operating in three dimensions. Bespoke options are also readily available. When sourcing an access system it’s important to ensure you have completed a risk assessment and are aware of which features are necessary to safeguard your employees.
“Over the years, we have installed a number of personnel lifts into our spraybooths and our customers have definitely been impressed with the increase in productivity, as well as being able to ensure the health and safety of their staff”, explains Jason Douglas, Junair Spraybooths.
As well as the health and safety implications, the personnel lift significantly reduces the time taken to mask, paint and inspect commercial vehicles, with obvious efficiency benefits – often seeing a return on investment in less than two years. “Since installation, Junair has been providing on-site product training to ensure that all of our operatives are competent in the correct and safe operation of the pneumatic access platforms. Our operatives find the platforms safe and easy to use, helping them to carry out their jobs efficiently,” says Martin Brand, First Glasgow’s Major Repair Business Manager.
A common misconception when looking for manoeuvrable access platforms is that they need to be installed at the same time as the spraybooth. This, however, is not the case; as long as the paint booth walls are of a reasonable strength they can be retrofitted with minimal disruption.