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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

August, 2005

Cell Phones in Paint Spray Room

Q. We insure auto dealers that use paint spray booths and mixing booths. Do they need a safety policy regarding the use of cell phones in the body shop? I know that a cell phone can ignite gas vapors when fueling a vehicle. Is there a danger of igniting fumes or over spray if an employee has a cell phone?

A. I have never seen a policy on cell phones in a spray booth; however, both OSHA and the National fire Protection Agency (NFPA Bulletin 33) require that anything that can cause a spark must be removed from a paint spray room (spray booth) unless it is explosion proof.

If a call phone has the potential to cause a spark then according to my reading of the regulations, it should not be permitted in a spray room.

From NFPA-33

There shall be no open flames or spark-producing equipment within 20 ft (6100 mm) of the spray operation while the spray operation is being conducted.


There should be no open flames, hot surfaces, or spark-producing equipment in the spray area or in any area where they might be exposed to combustible residues. Open flames or spark-producing equipment should not be located where they can be exposed to deposits of combustible residues. Some residues can be ignited at low temperatures, such as those produced by steam pipes, incandescent light fixtures, and power tools.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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