Spray painting company fined for breaching prohibition notice - What is best practice

02/07/2015 16:46

 

2 July 2015

A Nelson-based panel beating and spray painting business L&L Marriott Holdings Limited has been fined $15,000 for breaching a WorkSafe prohibition notice. What is the best practice for this. Read more below.

L&L Marriott Holdings Limited was sentenced today in the Nelson District Court under sections 43 and 50(1)(b) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act for breaching a prohibition notice on three occasions during 2014.

On 14 March 2014 WorkSafe health and safety inspectors visited L & L Marriott Holdings Limited’s premises and saw spray painting in a workshop area with no extraction system. There were unsafe lights and electrical sources in the same area as the spray painting, creating a risk of explosion. The spray painter was wearing a half mask respirator, which is unsuitable for spray painting with isocyanates, and another employee was walking around the workshop area with no personal protective clothing or respiratory equipment on when paint fumes were clearly visible.

L&L Marriott Holdings was subsequently issued a prohibition notice stopping all spray painting until a compliant spray booth was installed. A properly constructed booth with adequate extraction and air-fed respiratory equipment protects workers from exposure to paint fumes emanating from the use of solvents and isocyanates which are extremely harmful to health.

The prohibition notice was then breached on three occasions throughout the year, putting the employees at significant risk.
“Many workers suffer ill health and premature death from workplace exposure to chemicals and isocyanate-based paints like those used by L&L Marriott Holdings Limited,” says WorkSafe Chief Inspector Assessments Southern, Karen Davidson. “Poor management of hazardous substances is a significant contributor to the estimated 600-900 New Zealanders who die every year from work-related ill health. Occupational health and the collision repair industry is an area of focus for WorkSafe.

“Protecting people at work is not just about reducing the risk of incidents. It’s also about ensuring the long-term health effects of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace are well managed. L&L Marriot Holdings Limited should have stopped spray painting as required by the prohibition notice, had a proper spray booth installed, and provided employees with personal protective clothing and respiratory equipment.

“Prohibition notices are there for a reason – to keep workers safe.”

NOTES:

  • Solvent vapours are particularly dangerous to people who use them regularly. Breathing in such fumes can result in solvent neurotoxicity which causes short-term effects similar to feeling drunk or high including headaches, dizziness and nausea. Long-term effects can include memory loss, fertility problems, loss of concentration and moodiness.
  • Isocyanates are sensitizers that can lead to chronic asthma and respiratory problems.

Best Practice guidelines for Spray shops: There are to NZ Codes of Practice that provide guidance in this area: Code of Practice for Health and Safety in The Manufacture of composites based on Synthetic Resins.pdf (313646) and Isocyanates COP.pdf (238960)