2-12.  Efficient and Safe Handling, Storing, and Disposing of Protective Coatings

You must know how to handle, store, and dispose of protective coatings efficiently and safely. Proper knowledge of these duties will prevent overage stocks, the opening of wrong containers, and incompatible paint jobs. Furthermore, you can prevent accidents and injuries by learning safe disposal methods.

     a.  Handling. When handling paint containers, be careful not to damage the labels. Paint labels have valuable information on them, such as the date the paint was manufactured, its color, and its type. Without this information, you could waste or misuse large amounts of paint. If the labels are damaged, you should replace them with the correct information.

     b.  Storing. If possible, store protective coatings in dry, fire-resistant, well-drained, and well-ventilated structures, preferably separate from other buildings and under automatic-sprinkler protection. In addition—

         (1)  Indoor heating. To avoid direct heat on the materials, do not store them near steam lines or other sources of heat. Use steam heat with heating coils above the stock and screen the coils to prevent them from contacting the containers. Do not store paint on floors below grade (ground level). Lay the first tier of containers on pallets that are at least two inches above floor level to allow suitable ventilation and drainage.

         (2)  Outdoor storage. Paints and paint thinners packaged in 55-gallon steel drums may be stored outdoors; however, the drums must be protected against rusting. Paint the bare metal areas and set the drums on dunnage (scrap lumber) to provide approximately 2 inches of clearance above the ground. Lay drums on their sides to prevent the loss of the markings stenciled on their heads. This also protects the drums against the weathering action of rain, snow, and sun.

         (3)  Indoor storage. Store paints and paint thinners separately from other materials such as grease, oil, and spare parts.

NOTE: Rags, wood, and similar combustible material must not be stored in the same building with paint.

         (4)  Accessibility. Ensure that containers of paint materials are readily accessible at all times. Do not stack other materials on top of paint materials. In addition, you should—

Store and issue containers in the order of the manufacture date shown on the labels.

Use material bearing the oldest date first. If the manufacture date is not shown on the container, you may consider the date of receipt as the approximate manufacture date for purposes of storage and issue.

         (5)  Temperature. For best results, the temperature of paint materials should be between 65 and 85°F (room-temperature range) at the time of use. If storage conditions result in paint temperatures being below 55°F or above 95°F, you should store the container at room temperature for approximately 24 hours before use.

         (6)  Internal pressure. Containers of paint may develop internal pressure from high temperatures. For safe release of internal pressure, use the following precautions:

              (a)  Internal pressure is apparent as bulging in light-gauge tin containers, but it is not evident in heavy-gauge steel drums. Use care when opening containers so that you allow the pressure to dissipate slowly before the seal is completely removed. If you fail to observe this precaution, you may be spattered with paint that explodes because of a sudden release of pressure.

              (b)  Open containers sealed with bungs by turning out the bung slowly until a hissing sound is heard. When the hissing ceases, indicating equalization of pressure with the atmosphere, the bung can be completely removed.

              (c)  Containers that are bulged or misshapened from internal pressure should have a small hole punctured in the top to release the pressure. Use a fine, nonspark producing tool, such as aluminum or copper. After correcting the bulged or misshapened containers, post signs on the storage building that read: FLAMMABLE-KEEP FIRE AWAY.

     c.  Disposing. Dispose of paints and chemicals when they become old, dried out, or contaminated with foreign matter. Take them to a sanitary fill, open the containers, and toss them into the fill. When acids become contaminated or have served their purpose, bury them about 2 feet deep in a designated disposal area. Remember, chemicals are dangerous; therefore, follow all directions and procedures when you use or dispose of them.