By some estimates, less than half of paint booth operators are using the proper amount of paint for each job. In fact, most are wasting at least 15% of their paint. One reason is that many paint booth operators lack the necessary training required to maximize the shop’s efficiency and prevent safety hazards.
The Benefits of Proper Training for Paint Booth Operators
Becoming a paint booth operator doesn’t take more than an entry level education, however succeeding at the job requires a certain level of understanding and craftsmanship. According to the most recent statistics, spray booth operators are making close to $35K per year. Because of that it is incumbent upon shop owners to ensure that their workers not only follow best practices but also understand why they must follow them.
There are several benefits to ensuring that your booth workers have proper training. Your paint chemicals are part of any body shop’s largest monthly expense. Making sure that your workers are not wasting product but rather are efficiently applying them can save you money.
Reduces Waste, Saves Paint
Your overhead costs can go down by between 15% and 30% by simply making sure that none of the paint that your operators are spraying is being wasted. Part of that depends on the type of sprayer that you use and the other part depends on the quality of the air pressure used.
Naturally, painting a car by hand guarantees that practically every drop of paint used will be applied to the vehicle, but it’s not at all efficient for a high volume shop. More area gets covered faster using spray guns but you also lose at least half of your paint to overspray.
Makes Workers More Efficient
Secondly, better training makes your operator more efficient. When you train your spray booth operators on proper maintenance, their sprayers and nozzles will be working at max capacity free of clogs. Air filters and exhaust filters are changed regularly so that dust and debris is eliminated.
Using the right equipment will only get you half of the way there. Teaching your workers the correct way to use the right equipment is how your shop will see better results.
Training Your Paint Booth Operators
The first rule when it comes to training your paint booth operators is to reinforce that training. Too often shop owners invest in a onetime training session, or an OSHA representative stops by to go over safety rules that are quickly forgotten. In order for your training efforts to work, you have to continually reinforce those standards with regular safety meetings.
5 Spray Paint Booth Operator Training Tips
First, post easy to see safety signs in every high risk area of your shop. Make sure that you have considered mat placement and that your indoor air quality outside of your paint booths is good. Here are 5 tips that will help you train your paint booth operators correctly.
#1: Train and retrain on safety protocols for handling hazardous chemicals.
Chemical hazards are only second to fire and explosion hazards in a paint booth. It should be any shop owner’s top priority to ensure safe working conditions. The first step to get these types of rules to sink in is to educate your spray paint booth operators on the dangers of chemical poisoning and contact, including:
- Kidney Damage
- Liver Failure
- Skin Burns
- Brain Damage
Let your workers know that these risks are everywhere. From the paints that you use to the polishes and lacquers you use to coat with, every paint booth is an accident waiting to happen unless you take the time to properly train your staff on proper VOC levels and EPA standards.
#2: Teach proper air quality maintenance with thorough filter and air pressure training.
Dust and debris can ruin a paint job but it can also ruin your workers’ lungs. Inside of a paint booth, high temperatures mixed with debris and moisture can result in a number of lung diseases. The best way to prevent these types of injuries is to instruct your workers on proper air filtration, keeping a regular schedule on when to check and replace filters.
#3: Instruct all workers on how to properly use and maintain all paint booth equipment.
When you don’t properly maintain your equipment, it won’t perform well. Worse, it can create spraying hazards including shock from clogged spray guns and filtration systems. Simply keeping an empty can in a spray booth can create static electricity which when mixed with high pressure sprayers can create an electrocution hazard.
#4: Institute safety procedures in case of fire and explosion.
Paint booth operators are at the highest risk to fire and explosion dangers. Nearly every chemical used in the operation is flammable and noxious. Workers should never bring igniters like lighters or cigarettes, blow torches, or saws inside of the paint booth. Other potential igniters include Smartphones and radios.
#5: Ensure proper air filtration especially in areas like mixing rooms and prep stations to prevent toxic fume inhalation and explosion hazards.
Every mixing room and prep station should have its own air filtration source. Small enclosures where no fumes can escape create hazardous conditions within your shop.
When it comes time to train your paint booth operators, the quality of the equipment can have a huge impact on their learning process and the results they see from their work.