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EFFECT OF LIFTING AIR FED VISOR DURING SPRAYING

Video reveals enhanced risk to when ‘inspecting’ work

HSE has published Research Report – RR1064 Investigation into exposure when the visor of air fed RPE is raised during spraying concerning the use of Air-fed visors (AFV) for protection against exposure to paints.

It is common practice to ‘flip up’ the AFV immediately after spraying to check the quality of the paint finish. This may be only for a few seconds but if repeated numerous times during a work shift, the practice could potentially result in a significant increase in exposure.

The aim of the research was to determine the reduction in protection and potential increase in exposure when the visor is lifted and to explore potential engineering solutions (by modifying the AFV design) to prevent exposure during any visor lift.

Findings

The results demonstrate that lifting the visor whilst still within a contaminated atmosphere had a significant detrimental effect on the protection afforded by the AFV.

Mean protection factors were measured at 1.7 in the lifted position and at 2.7 over the whole of the exposure period (from start of the lift to recovery of protection after refitting). This latter figure equates to a 15 fold increase in exposure when related to the assigned protection factor of 40 for AFV when used correctly.

Modifications

A number of modifications were applied to the most common type of visor to explore whether there is scope for improvement in design that would mitigate exposure during a visor lift. The researchers found:

“Modifications that maintained a clean breathing zone around the wearer’s mouth and nose led to a significant improvement in protection.

This was achieved with the addition of a loose fitting inner-mask positioned inside the visor that remained in place during the lifting of the visor.If adequate protection can be achieved with a loose fitting mask then the discomfort issues associated with a tight fitting mask will not occur.

Another modification explored was to create a slit in the visor to enable an unrestricted view while keeping the main body of the visor and air inlet in place. This window slit configuration also maintained a clean breathing zone around the wearer’s mouth and nose.

Other modifications explored repositioning of the air distribution system inside the visor, an air curtain blowing across the breathing zone and variation in air flow rates into the visor.

A common practice amongst sprayers was to apply masking tape over the edge of the tear-off visors to prevent any over-spray from depositing on the main visor. This action prevented sprayers from removing their tear-off visors whilst in the spray booth which may have allowed improved vision and thus removed the need to lift the visor.”

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