Safety is an integral aspect of any maintenance project, including bridge painting. Paint materials require careful handling during removal from the bridges and structures as well as during application. Quite some time in the past, some of the applied paint products contained particularly hazardous materials e.g. lead, chromium and asbestos. Paints containing such materials require more stringent provisions for safe removal and disposal of the waste.
On a recent bridge painting project, hazardous pigments were identified in some of the coats of the existing paint coating system. In order for safe removal, some trials were carried out using innovating products in the markets that allowed the particular paint coating to be removed without creating emission with friable particles, thus, complying with the WHS regulation and protecting the personnel from exposure to such materials. The concept was to remove the hazardous paint coating using this innovating method and then use the conventional method of abrasive blast cleaning to remove the remaining coats. Based on the result of the trial, a particular product was found to be more effecting for the particular situation.
This paper describes the safety requirements for bridge painting projects and the detailed procedure for safe removal of existing paint on a bridge that was found to have contained hazardous pigment. It is envisaged that the paper will provide useful information to other asset owners enabling them to effective and safely remove such paint coatings from their assets.