Are there any regulations from OSHA, NIOSH, etc., regarding recommendations or best practices for respirators for painters (supplied air versus air purifiers)?
Question answered by:
Tom Wright, director, Sales & Marketing, Martech Services Company
Your question is a great one. I wish I could point you towards a document from either OSHA and/or NIOSH that would spell out the answer, but I do not believe one exists. As you’re probably aware, OSHA is the government branch that enforces the regulations, and NIOSH is a branch of the CDC which makes the regulations that are enforced.
OSHA would be the folks who would enforce a health and safety issue should one exist regarding painters. The Respiratory Protection Regulation is: 29CFR1910.134. That said, it is not easy for anyone to determine from this regulation the exact requirement for painters.
From our many years of experience working with the concerns of properly protecting painters, here is my response to your question:
When spraying a catalyzed paint product in a spraybooth, the requirement for proper protection is for the employer to provide an appropriate air-supplied respirator for the painter. Such air-supplied respirator must be supplied with Grade “D” Breathable Air. Regardless of spraying a solvent-based or waterborne paint, they all are a catalyzed paint system and require the use of an air-supplied respirator.
I am confident you have received conflicting answers to your question. Might I suggest you ponder this question: When spraying a catalyzed paint product in a spraybooth, would you feel safe using any type of respirator other than an air-supplied respirator that is being supplied with Grade “D” Breathable Air from a system that is properly filtering and monitoring the quality of air at all times? When it comes to health and safety, it is, in my opinion, the only way to properly assure the painter and the responsible employer that the air they’re breathing inside a spraybooth is safe.