Confined space is one of the most commonly overlooked hazards in any industrial environment. But even though it is commonly overlooked, it is still a common situation that facility painters and floor installers get thrown into.
So here’s a recent confined space project that we recently completed, and the safety steps we took to ensure the safety of our installers.
Waste oil is very difficult to hold and contain. Firstly, whatever is containing the oil, needs to be coated with a product that offers a lot of chemical resistance. But not only does it need to have a lot of chemical resistance, it also needs to have excellent adhesion because the holding container is going to be so saturated with the oil, that nearly nothing will want to stick to it. So, as is with any coating project, the prep work will be vital to the performance of the coating.
Which is why the confined space precaution is so important for this project. Becuase someone will actually need to go inside the tank to ensure that it’s properly prepped and coated.
There are many dangers that can occur in confined space. But each danger typically depends on what the purpose is of the equipment or the tank. In this case, a tank could have a concentrated amount of lethal gasses such as methane. So part of our safety training includes getting a working gas reader inside the tank, while the crew is prepping and painting. The gas reader needs to be calibrated prior to doing the work. This ensures that it is getting accurate readings, to let the guys know that there is a serious threat to their safety.
Additionally, the tank’s temperature was measured with an industrial thermal thermometer. This allowed the crew to verify the working temperature in the confined space, to ensure that the level of heat was not exceeding the safety limits for a person.
So as we used the gas monitor, our crew hand wiped with side walls with a solvent cleaning solution. Although this isn’t the best prep option, it was the option the customer was willing to pay for.
After the inside had been adequately prepped, we applied (2) coats of Sherwin Williams Dur-A-Plate 301L Epoxy. If you read our clarifications on the varying types of epoxies, you’ll remember that phenalkamine epoxies offer great adhesion and excellent chemical resistance. This makes the chosen material the ideal selection for this situation.
Overall, the project was completed under budget, but most importantly, safely. Between the precautions taken by the project manager, and the face masks worn by the installers, and the gas monitor, and the trunk used to cycle air flow from the tank to the outside of the tank, everyone involved was put in a safe situation, so that the customer’s expectations could be reasonably met.