Sometimes painting and sandblasting isn’t the most complex portion of a job. In many cases, accessing areas of the job and keeping the job from exposing to the surrounding environment is harder than the work itself! By this we mean specialized scaffolding and containment. Projects that require this type of preparation include tank and tower coating, church steeple restoration, exterior high rise renovations, heat stacks, bridge painting, and more.
Here at Alpine, all of our rigid scaffolding and containment is stamped and approved by a Professional Engineer. One main reason we take caution is because of OSHA scaffolding safety requirements that must be met to insure worker and public safety. Under OSHA’s safety requirements: 1910.28(a)(19): employees shall not work on scaffolds which are covered with ice or snow and 1910.28(a)(20): tools, materials, and debris shall not be allowed to accumulate in quantities to cause a hazard.
By following the correct safety standards in containment rigging, we are able to work in high winds with the guarantee the integrity of the structure will not be compromised. Using a containment system allows us to keep elements such as ice, snow, leaves, and rain away from our projects and keep debris and lead from escaping into the surrounding area. Along with a containment system, Alpine utilizes environmental monitoring systems that give us live feedback of many weather conditions. These conditions include windspeed, wind direction, temperature and relative humidity. This system is extremely beneficial for both quality monitoring and safety monitoring.
When sandblasting a tank, the used abrasive, many times including lead paint dust, is suctioned out of the containment with a dust collector. A dust collector is essentially a giant vacuum cleaner; but instead of picking up dust off a floor, it uses a large hose to suction dust out of the containment. By suctioning air out of the containment, we create a “negative pressure” inside. What this means is that the air outside the containment is at a higher pressure so there is no free air movement pushing the dust and debris out. . We then create vent holes towards the top of the containment because without holes, the pressure difference can become so great that the entire containment can collapse.
In conjunction with our containment systems we also utilize heat or dehumidification equipment as well as other engineering controls to finish large projects within very tight time frames. This equipment is used to keep the coating system at the right curing temperature, even in very cold or humid climates. In regards to quality, environmental conditions need to be just right. The steel temperature can’t be too cold otherwise the paint won’t cure properly. It also can’t be too humid because too much water in the air doesn’t allow for the solvents to evaporate properly and can cause issues of water forming on the surface.
Whether working on small private projects or high-profile, public bid projects, as a contractor, you should never ever take shortcuts. The lives of your workers as well as the people and the environment surrounding your project depend on it. “When safety is first, you last.” This goes for your company as well. A contractor that practices safe working habits has happier and healthier employees that are more likely to produce better standards of work. With that being said, a safe contractor has a tendency of getting hired again and again.