Inspection program looks at powder coating activities

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WorkSafe has begun a proactive inspection program looking at safety in businesses conducting powder coating activities.

WorkSafe Director Joe Attard said today a previous inspection program on powder coating had resulted in some concerns about the hazards in the industry.

“An inspection program on powder coating conducted by WorkSafe six years ago highlighted that many businesses were carrying out powder coating activities with limited knowledge of the risks involved,” Mr Attard said.

“As a result, we have decided to re-visit workplaces that include powder coating in their activities to check that adequate measures are being taken to safeguard workers.”

Powder coating is a process by which powder is applied electrostatically to an item before being heat-cured to form a skin-like casing.

The powder can contain a hazardous substance known as TGIC that can increase skin and respiratory tract sensitivity, is toxic if inhaled or ingested, can cause serious eye damage and can cause reproductive effects in the offspring of males exposed to it.

Although TGIC is not used in all brands of powder, it is vital that businesses are aware of the extra precautions that need to be taken to ensure that workers are not put at risk.

Mr Attard warned that even coatings free of TGIC were potentially dangerous if not handled properly.

“Other chemicals that are commonly used in the coating process, such as hydrofluoric acid, are extremely dangerous, as are the electrical hazards associated with electrostatic spray painting,” he said.

“Any workplace involved in powder coating needs to have workers trained in the correct use of products, and also needs to have relevant measures in place such as protective equipment and clothing and specific first aid procedures.

“These are the type of issues WorkSafe inspectors will be looking at during this inspection program.

“The primary objective of the program is to make sure that employers have the information they need to provide a safe and healthy workplace, but inspectors will take enforcement action if they see breaches of the laws.”

The program will continue for the remainder of the current financial year in metropolitan and regional areas of the State in industries such as motor vehicle parts dealers and metal fabrication.

Inspectors will work with the aid of a checklist in order to ensure consistency.

Contact has been made with the industry so employers can be aware of the program and what will be expected when an inspector visits.

Further information on powder coating is available by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au

Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

WorkSafe
Media release
04 Sep 2015

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