Automotive Refinishing Safety Information
About this Design for the Environment's (DfE) best practices project
Automotive repair shop workers and owners, this information is aimed at helping you protect yourselves and the citizens in your communities.
The information came from a DfE best practices project (1997-2013) conducted in partnership with the automotive refinishing industry and its career/technical schools.
Goals of the project were to:
- Increase awareness of the health and environmental concerns associated with refinishing activities.
- Develop best practices for automotive refinishing shops.
- Encourage the use of cleaner, safer, more efficient and effective practices and technologies that reduce air toxics.
The project helped EPA to:
- Conduct training in best practices for auto refinishing in schools and businesses across the country from 2005-2012. Read about automotive repair best practices training.
- Develop numerous tools to enhance the awareness of health and safety issues associated with automotive refinishing, which you can find in this website.
Automotive refinishing best shop practices
Best shop practices focus on changes in key areas that small auto refinish shops can make. Compiled from real-life shop experiences, the topics include:
- Shop and spray booth ventilation
- Sanding, solvent wiping, paint mixing, and spray painting
- Glove selection
- High-volume, low-pressure spray guns
- Supplied air respirators
- Worker health and safety
- A Self-Evaluation Checklist of Best Practices for Auto Refinish Shops and Schools
(EPA/744-F-07-006) -- The self-evaluation checklist is a tool to help you evaluate current practices and technologies in your facility and identify areas where you should make improvements to protect your workers (or students) and surrounding communities from isocyanates, organic solvents, hexavlent chromium, lead, and other hazardous air pollutants generated during refinishing activities. The checklist covers five key operations: surface preparation, paint mixing, spray painting, spray gun cleaning, and health and safety management.
- Best Practices Self-Evaluation Checklist(1 pg, 573 K) -- An Excel version of the checklist automatically calculates evaluation points.
- Para la versión de español, vea Una Lista de Auto-evaluacionlas de Mejores Practicas Para Negocios y Escuelas de Retocado de Automóviles
- Autobody Refinishing General Best Shop Practices: Safe Work Practices that Reduce Worker Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals
(EPA/744-R-98-008) -- This document focuses on the key components of beneficial change in small auto refinish shops. Compiled from real-life shop experiences, the documents serve as worker protection and pollution prevention goals for the small shop.
Shop and spray booth ventilation
- Breathing Easy
(EPA/744-F-02-008) -- This fact sheet provides practical information and guidance to auto refinish shops on how to ensure proper ventilation of the paint mixing room. The information includes ventilation system basics and diagrams, risk reduction ideas, common mistakes, tips, and design considerations.
- Spray Booth Filters: The Key to Quality Jobs and Clean Emissions
(EPA/744-F-08-001) -- This fact sheet highlights key factors regarding the need to use and maintain paint booth filters to achieve a quality job and protect the painter, others in the shop, and the environment.
Para la versión de español, vea Filtros de Cabinas de Rocio: La Clave Para Empleos de Calidad y Emisiones Limpios
Sanding, solvent wiping, paint mixing, and spray painting
- Paint Mixing Best Practices Checklist
- Best Practice for the Paint Mixing Room for Auto Refinishers
Para la versión de español, vea Mejores Practicas en el Cuarto de Mezclar Pintura
- Spray Painting Best Practices Checklist
- Best Practices for Auto Refinishers When Spray Painting
Para la versión de español, vea Mejores Practicas para Retocadores de Automoviles Usando Pistolas de Rocio
- Sanding Best Practices Checklist
- Vacuum Sanders: Reducing Dust and Hazardous Air Pollutants - Fact Sheet
Para la versión de español, vea Lijadoras con Aspiradora: Reduce al Polvo y Contaminantes Peligrosos del Aire
- Solvent Wipe Down Best Practices Checklist
- Choosing the Right Gloves for Painting Cars
High-volume, low-pressure spray guns
- High Volume-Low Pressure Spray Guns Best Practices Checklist
- Spray Gun Cleaning Best Practices Checklist
- HVLP Spray Guns: Cost-effective, Environment-friendly Technology
Para la versión de español, vea Pistolas de Rocio de HVLP: Tecnología de Costo-efectivo y Buena para el Ambiente
Supplied air respirators
- Respiratory Protection Program for Auto Refinish Shops
(EPA/744-F-02-010) -- The purpose of this document is to assist auto body shops in developing a respiratory protection program that protects the health of their employees and meets the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard. Checklists and blank spaces allow shops to customize their program for specific hazards and appropriate respiratory protection.
- Supplied-Air Respirators in Auto Refinishing Shops: Get the Best Protection
- User Friendly Supplied-Air Respirators: Options for Auto Refinishers
Worker health and safety
- Health and Safety Management Best Practices Checklist
- Hazard Communication Standard for Chemical Labels and Safety Data Sheets In GHS Format
This fact sheet provides an overview of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and chemical hazard labels, and includes tips on how these materials can be used to better protect health and the environment by providing enhanced and consistent information on chemical hazards.
Technical Reports & Success Stories
- Automotive Refinishing Industry: Isocyanates Profile [Revised Draft]
(EPA/744-R-97-007) -- The purpose of this report is to investigate isocyanates, especially concerning their use in the automotive refinishing industry. The report provides information on automotive refinishing, control technologies employed to reduce exposures, and the regulatory status of a group of isocyanate compounds. The report also points out opportunities for innovation in reducing exposures and risks and promoting pollution prevention.
- Factors that Motivate Owners of Automotive Refinishing Shops to Implement Changes
(EPA/744-R-99-004) -- This report summarizes safe work practices implemented by auto refinishing shops that participated in the EPA’s Auto Refinish Pilot Project, as well as the factors that motivated shop owners to make changes. The report is based on nine site visits to shops in the Philadelphia area and one in the Minneapolis area.
- HVLP Spray Guns in the Auto Refinishing Shop: A Success Story
(EPA/744-F-00-014) -- This case study illustrates one shop's experience with successfully implementing high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) spray guns.
- Spray with HVLP Guns and Save
This case study explains the savings when using HVLP guns for auto refinishing.
- Managing Worker Health and Safety: An Auto Refinish Success Story
(EPA/744-F-00-017) -- This case study describes how a dedicated shop manager makes sure his painters know the risks from auto refinish chemicals and how to protect themselves. Included in this fact sheet is information regarding Safety Data Sheets (SDS), appropriate protective equipment, and employee training.
- Using Waterborne Basecoats in Collision Repair Shops: A Case Study
(EPA/744-F-08-003) -- This case study describes how a shop owner switched to waterborne basecoats and may help you decide if your shop is ready to make a switch from solvent-based to waterborne basecoats.
Para la versión de español, vea Usando Recubrimientos a Base de Agua en Negocios Reparación de Choques: Un Caso de Estudio
- Emission reduction calculator(1 pg, 204 K) -- (in Excel) can estimate emissions and material-use reductions achieved through implementing best practices.
- Caring for the Environment in the Collision Repair Industry, by Chet Elia, Director, Collision Division, AASP-PA, Pennsylvania Automotive & Insider News, February 2001
- Coordinating Committee for Auto Repair (CCAR) - Greenlink Virtual Shop Exit -- this website presents a virtual automotive refinishing shop. Helpful information about health and safety and best practices are provided for specific activities that take place in a automotive refinishing shop.
- SmallBiz-Enviroweb Homepage Exit -- this website provides information on compliance assistance, funding assistance, and pollution prevention for small businesses. Contact information for small business assistance programs is provided for each state. Recent news and events related to small businesses and environmental issues are posted and publications, videos, and factsheets are made available on the Web site.
- State and Environmental Agencies and Small Business Assistance Programs -- this Web page provides links to state environmental agencies, pollution prevention and compliance assistance, and small business assistance Web sites for each state.
- NIOSH Hazard Controls: Control of Dust From Sanding in Autobody Repair Shop
- Get information on the Collision Repair Campaign.
- California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) Exit -- OEHHA adopted new and revised Reference Exposure Levels (RELs) for toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) for use in the Air Toxics Hot Spots program. RELs are airborne concentrations of a chemical that are not anticipated to result in adverse noncancer health effects for specified exposure durations in the general population, including sensitive subpopulations.