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Sandblaster Duties and Responsibilities

Based on job listings, these duties are typically assigned to sandblasters:

Operate Machinery The sandblaster uses abrasive blasting equipment to remove paint, grease, tar, rust, and dirt. The sandblaster's control of the pressure and direction of the abrasive material is vital for preventing surface damage and injury to coworkers. The sandblaster is responsible for shoveling or pouring sand, grit, or other abrasive material into the machine, and monitoring and maintaining an adequate supply of the abrasive in the hopper.

Prepare Surfaces Before the abrading action, the sandblaster protects specific areas of the work surface using masking film, tape, and rubber.

Set Up Equipment Sandblasters are responsible for lifting, carrying, and setting up heavy equipment and parts onto racks, into tumbling barrels, or into cabinets.

Shop Operations Preparing parts for the paint shop, steam cleaning motors and chassis, and other general labor may be included in the sandblaster's job duties.

Maintain Equipment and Work Area An important part of the sandblaster's job is the maintenance of the sandblasting equipment, such as cleaning and changing nozzles. To prevent accidents, it is essential that the sandblaster's work area is clean and orderly, and that any unsafe working conditions are corrected or reported immediately.


Sandblaster Skills and Qualifications

A sandblaster's duties require physical stamina, comfort handling heavy and potentially dangerous machinery, and great attention to detail.Other essential skills include:
  • Mechanical aptitude - the ability to comply with instructions in written, oral, and schedule form is essential. Sandblasters must read and comprehend manuals, inspection checklists, operating and maintenance instructions, government regulations, and other work-related information
  • Physical fitness - sandblasters must be able to hear coworkers, see up close and far away, perceive color and depth, and have the ability to focus. Sandblasters may be required to stand or walk on uneven ground and ascend and descend rail cars or ladders, all of which requires stamina and endurance
  • Compliance with safety procures - as part of an organization's safety program, sandblasters are expected to complete an annual training program and pass safety examinations and all required assessments
  • Interpersonal skills - the ability to clearly, professionally, and effectively communicate with their supervisor and coworkers is necessary for success
  • Flexibility - a sandblaster may be required to work at night and on the weekend. At times, they may be asked to cross-train, work in other areas, or train new employees

Sandblaster Education and Training

A high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate and a valid driver's license are the minimum requirements needed to become a sandblaster. Generally, one to three years of surface preparation experience is preferred, but an equivalent combination of education and experience is acceptable.Forklift experience may make a candidate more attractive to employers, as might training and certification programs completed through professional associations.

Sandblaster Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the national median annual salary for painters and construction and maintenance workers at $37,960. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $25,200 a year, while workers in the highest 10 percent earn more than $63,620. According to the BLS, there are over 380,000 painters and construction and maintenance workers employed in the United States. This sector is projected to grow 6 percent by 2026.

Helpful Resources

We searched the web for the best resources to help you explore a career as a sandblaster:

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings - this internationally recognized association offers training through online courses, webinars, and a learning center. SSPC also offers a certification program and an informal networking group of more than 5,800 members

American Galvanizers Association - AGA is dedicated to serving the needs of contractors and fabricators. This nonprofit association also maintains a large technical library and offers education and resources

NACE International - NACE provides training at its Houston facility and through online courses. The organization administers 23 certifications plus the Coating Inspector Program Blast Journal - here you'll find educational articles for the surface preparation industry. Sponsored by Graco, this blog provides an informative mix of trends and industry insight

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