Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

January, 2003

Permitting Portable Spray Booths

Q. I have the chance to rebrand FedEx semi freight trailers (simply removing decals and painting the rear door white). I have built a 28' refer trailer into a paint booth. It has an enclosed work area at the rear that has a blow up ribbon to make the seal between the units, in the front I installed filter media, the unit controls temperture (heating or cooling) and filters at the same time. There are 15,000 trailers that needs this done to them. We are able to strip and paint 8 units in 8 hours with 2 men. We have done 500 already, are currently shut down because of cold weather. What could I do to make this system more legal, or how would I find out? Anything you could offer would help.

A. First, you should find out if you need a permit from your state or local air pollution agency to paint these trailers. If so, you will need to have permits for the spray booth(s), spray guns, gun washer(s) etc. You might also need to demonstrate that the paints you are using are legal. In addition, you might need permits from your local fire department, and if you dispose of hazardous waste you will need to work with your local EPA agency on that too.

With regard to using the trailers as spray booths, you must follow OSHA guidelines (1910.94) and I also suggest that you purchase a copy of Bulletin NFPA-33 from the National Fire Protection Agency ( Do you have fire insurance? If so, your insurance company will definitely be interested to know that you are in compliance with the fire and safety regulations.

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