or solvent-based paint, make sure the proper
fire-fighting equipment is located close to the work
area. One little spark can set the vapors of some solvents
into a roaring fire that can take life and destroy a ship.
Proper equipment may include fire extinguishers,
charged fire hoses, or foam. You always need to be
prepared. An ounce of prevention goes a long way. Ask
your supervisor to check the type of fire-fighting
equipment you are going to use to see if more equipment
or some other type is needed for the job at hand.
While working with people using solvents or
solvent-based paint, make sure you know the location of
the nearest fire alarm. Also, make sure all the people
working know the nearest fire escape route. Always
notify damage control central (DCC) when you are
using flammable materials.
Wiping Up Solvent Spills
When using solvents, be careful not to spill them on
the deck or get them on anything except what you are
cleaning. Solvents may cause paint to bubble and peel
off surfaces. The corrosive nature of some solvents can
damage equipment. When mixed with some tile
compositions, solvents can form toxic vapors that can
irritate your lungs and make you sick. If you spill
solvent, clean it up as soon as possible. If you think the
spill has caused some type of damage, contact your
supervisor for guidance.
When a spill involves more than 5 gallons of solvent
or presents a threat to the ship or the health of the crew,
report it immediately to your supervisor, DCC, or the
OOD. Each ship has a hazardous material response kit
to handle such emergencies. Spilled material and
contaminated clothing or rags become hazardous waste
and must be treated as hazardous material (HAZMAT).
Your supervisor will tell you the proper disposal
procedures for your command.
Working with solvents is dangerous. Avoid inhaling
vapors. Personnel with a history of chronic skin disease,
allergies, or asthma should not be permitted to work
with paint, solvents, and thinners.
When you handle a solvent, dont let it contact your
skin. If a solvent does contact your skin, flush it with
clear water as soon as possible. If solvent contacts your
skin or eyes, report to the nearest medical facility as
soon as possible for treatment.
When working with solvents, wear an approved
respirator and protective clothing at all times. If you
think that your respirator isnt working properly,
request an air line mask. The safety department of your
ship usually provides these items.
If you breathe some of the vapors given off by
solvents, get to a doctor as soon as possible.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health/Mine Safety and Health Administration
(NIOSH/MSHA) must approve all respirators and
pumps. Users must be medically qualified and fit-tested
before wearing a respirator. The following text
describes the air-purifying respirators and air-supplied
or self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) approved
for use by the Navy:
Air-purifying respirators use a filter, a chemical
cartridge, or a combination of the two to remove air
contamination. Filters capture particles of dust or metal
fumes. The cartridges may contain a chemical or carbon
to absorb vapors or gases. A combination of filter and
cartridge is used for a combination of hazards, such as
spray painting. The filter captures the spray mist and the
cartridge absorbs the paint vapors, protecting the
Air-supplied or self-contained breathing
apparatus (SCBA) provides fresh air when the vapor or
gas concentration is too high or the area lacks oxygen.
Air-supplied or SCBA is required for all internal
shipboard spray painting operations. Air for supplied air
masks is provided by certified breathing air
compressors or breathing air pumps.
The use of proper equipment may save your life and
the lives of your shipmates. If you are in doubt about the
type of equipment to use, be sure to check with your