Coating Plants: The Two Biggest Threats to Safety

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Coating plants that make polymers, paints, and other chemical coatings need industrial fire protection that not only meets the needs of the hazardous materials within the building, but also the workers and property.

Purpose:  You're going to learn what safety and fire hazards are present in a coatings facility.


  • The fire hazards in a coatings facility.
  • The cause of a dust explosion.
  • PPE that will mitigate electrical shock.


With this type of highly specialized fire protection, coatings plants need to go to an expert who knows their hazards and fire protection needs.

Coatings Fire Hazards

Powder and other coatings have their own health and safety risks.  They hold the possibilities of dust explosions, fire electronic shock, exposure to hazardous materials, and compressed air, according to the British Coatings Federation.


Dust Explosion

A dust explosion happens when five requirements happen:  there is fuel, oxygen, ignition - just like a fire - but when you add dispersion and confinement, you get a dust explosion.

Photo via  Wikipedia

Photo via Wikipedia

Dust clouds can become confined relatively easily within a coatings plants.  By having a strict housekeeping regimen, coatings plants can reduce their dispersed dust. Use a wash down system and sweep often to keep dust at bay.  Industry surveys have shown that plants that use wash down systems have been happy with the results.

Fire Electric Shocks

Electrical shock is a real risk in coatings plants.  NFPA 70E was developed to mitigate electrical shock and arc flash events and injuries.  

When working in an environment with shock hazards, wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE).  


What PPE should be worn in places with electrical shock risk?

  • FR clothing
  • Hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Insulated tools

Above all else, fire sprinklers need to be inspected, tested, and maintained.  Without a properly maintained fire sprinkler, you cannot guarantee that it will activate when a fire ignites.  F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has been working with coating facilities such as BASF and DOW for decadesContact F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems directly for a quote or more information.