Use abrasives on automotive vehicles

Business Sectors (Suites): Vehicle Paint Refinishing
Developed by: IMI
Approved on: 30 Mar 2023


This standard is about the ability to undertake abrasive activities on automotive vehicles  .

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

P1 wear suitable personal protective equipment and use the specified environmental safety equipment throughout
P2 ensure vehicle is suitably prepared prior to the abrasive operation
P3 ensure correct use and care of abrasive product to maximise life span of the product and minimise contamination
P4 use the appropriate extraction equipment correctly
P5 support vehicle refinishing operations by reviewing:

P5.1 product data
P5.2 the vehicle manufacturer’s technical data
P5.3 work instructions
P6 identify the body panel substrate accurately prior to undertaking any preparation work
P7 take precautions to minimise the build-up of static during abrasive operations
P8 prepare, check and adjust all the tools and equipment required, following manufacturer’s instructions, prior to use
P9 prepare all the refinishing systems and materials required following health and safety requirements and using:

P9.1 materials which conform to the specification required
P9.2 the manufacturer's approved method
P9.3 the manufacturer's approved equipment
P10 carry out preparation techniques using materials and select the appropriate tools and equipment following:

P10.1 the manufacturer's instructions
P10.2 the correct methods and techniques
P10.3 health and safety requirements
P11 ensure the finished surface is suitable to accept the next process
P12 dispose of waste materials to conform with legal, environmental and workplace requirements
P13 leave tools, equipment and work environment in a clean and serviceable condition, as appropriate
P14 complete all refinishing activities within the agreed timescale to an agreed quality control process
P15 promptly report any anticipated delays in completion to the relevant person(s) 

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

K1 the health and safety and environmental legislative requirements specific to vehicle refinishing operations and why it is important that these are followed
K2 workplace procedures and workshop practices relevant to personal and vehicle protection before, during and after vehicle preparation operations
K3 the importance of disposing of waste safely and the consequences of not doing so to the business, others and the environment
K4 the vehicle work specification agreed
K5 your workplace procedures for:

K5.1 the referral of problems
K5.2 reporting delays to the completion of work
K5.3 personal protection
K6 the importance of working to agreed timescales and keeping others informed of progress
K7 the relationship between time, cost and productivity
K8 the importance of promptly reporting anticipated delays to the relevant person(s) 
K9 how to prepare, check, adjust and use all the tools and equipment required for vehicle preparation operations
K10 how to prepare abrasive equipment and materials for use
K11 how to use and care for abrasive products
K12 the properties of abrasive materials and the factors affecting their use
K13 how to recognise damage to substrates and ancillary fittings
K14 how to recognise substrates
K15 how the substrate affects the preparation process
K16 how to interpret manufacturer's technical data
K17 how to prepare panels and parts adjacent to the area being painted
K18 the factors governing the choice of panel preparation methods for all  substrates *
K19 the types and grades of available abrasives and the factors governing their use for different *substrates
K20 methods of protecting panels and parts adjacent to the areas being prepared and the circumstances in which they should be used  
K21 the implications of not following the correct abrasive process and its effect on the overall quality process
K22 the implications of static when working with plastic components  
K23 the importance of using and how to use extraction equipment
K24 the implications of cross-contamination of dissimilar metals when using abrasive and extraction equipment
K25 the implications of not following an agreed quality control process


​1. Substrates include:

1.1. electro-coated panels
1.2. repaired panels
1.3. original manufacturer’s finish
1.4. plastic components
1.5. zinc coated panels
1.6. steel panels
1.7. aluminium panels
1.8. composite panels
1.9. previously primed panels
1.10. protection additive/film

Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2026





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Automotive Paint Technician, Engineering, Senior Automotive Paint Technician, Vehicle Trades, Lead Senior Paint Technician

SOC Code



Abrasive; substrates; static; automotive; preparation