No.65: Fire and Oxygen Deprivation Measures 

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7 Practical Guidelines for Paint Workers 

Article 7: Safe Work Practices (2) Fire and Acid Prevention 

Key Points Note 

Organic solvents, sharing properties with gasoline, can ignite even at room temperature, potentially causing fires and explosions. Static electricity discharge is often seen as a source of ignition. Additionally, since solvent vapors are heavier than air, measures to prevent oxygen deprivation are essential. 

Safe Work Practices (2) Fire and Acid Prevention 

Fire and Oxygen Deprivation Measures 

Fires occur when solvent vapors ignite. Therefore, fire prevention is of utmost importance in solvent painting. This is because the coating rate of solvent-based spray painting is about 30%, and in painting booths without forced exhaust equipment, the painting room is easily filled with solvent vapors containing spray particles. In other words, this condition causes fires. Furthermore, the lower the ignition point and combustion range of solvent vapors, the higher the risk of fire. 

 However, specific measures are necessary for fire prevention on-site. 

1. Examples of Causes of Fire Accidents 

Let’s look at an example of a gasoline explosion that occurred at a festival venue in Japan. It was an accident that happened when refueling a gasoline-powered small generator at a stall selling cooked food. Since the inside of the metal carrying can was filled with gasoline vapor, the first thing to do is to loosen the decompression screw and vent the gasoline vapor in a place away from open flames. In the case of the incident, not performing this operation and opening the lid on the fueling side to pour gasoline into the stove caused the gasoline vapor to spurt out, ignite the flame of the gas stove, and explode. Unfortunately, immediately afterward, a nearby gas cylinder also caught fire and exploded, resulting in a major disaster. At all times, when refueling gasoline, it is essential to first loosen the decompression screw and vent the gasoline vapor. 

2. No Open Flames in Painting Areas! 

In painting sites, open flames are strictly prohibited, and it is necessary to check in advance whether there is any welding work producing sparks in the downwind direction. Also, it is crucial not to accumulate static electricity in painting sites. In particular, electrostatic painting requires caution. There are many cases where sparks from the discharge of static electricity cause fires, so please adhere to the following: 

2-1. First, ensure that the hanger fixtures suspending the items to be painted are grounded (with no insulation points) (= earthing) . 

2-2. Workers should wear conductive shoes. 

2-3. Water the floor. 

3. Oxygen Deprivation Measures in Painting Areas 

Next, we address oxygen deprivation measures. Since solvent vapors are heavier than air, they tend to stagnate around the floor. Solvent vapors do not mix with air. As a result, in spaces where there are only small openings in the upper parts of the space (e.g., the ceiling), as painting work progresses, only the lighter air is expelled outside. Gradually, this leads to an oxygen-deficient state and can result in death. As measures against oxygen deprivation, it is crucial to always introduce fresh air or for workers to wear air tanks while working. 


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