I have some thoughts that I want to convey about Repainting Steam Locomotives that appeared in the November 7, 2002, issue of Painting Clinic. I’m out of my element here, but the size and age of the units seems to raise the possibility that significant amounts of lead based paint might be present. Volunteer labor plus a possible interior work environment and/or abrasive cleaning are aggravating factors. Wouldn’t it be prudent to do some testing to determine if such a hazard is present before proceeding? B.V.
Your concerns are well founded, B.V. The simple answer is, “yes.” After further checking, it seems that the phrase, “Volunteers will do the work,” is not quite correct. Instead, the work will be done by professional restoration experts. The volunteers involved are an Industrial Paint Consultant, a paint company technical sales representative, a Ph.D. Tribologist and a school teacher, all of whom are railroad historians and who volunteered their time to select the right paints in the correct colors for the refinishing project. I selected the paints and wrote the finishing specification. In my specification I wrote that all work is to be done in compliance with existing regulations as follows: “...During the repainting of these locomotives and tenders, sound surface preparation and painting practices must be followed. Furthermore, every effort must be made to provide for worker safety, fire protection and environmental regulatory compliance. These efforts must include proper transportation, storage and handling of hazardous materials and proper disposition of hazardous wastes in accordance with all applicable safety and environmental regulations. Workers must be provided with suitable safety equipment such as gloves, masks, safety glasses and other necessary equipment for handling hazardous material...” Thank you again for your concern. B.V.