Safety for painters when mixing and using paint
1. Put a lid on it
Once you have opened a tin or can of paint, it can release vapours into the air which can be harmful to you, a member of your team or even the general public.
By making sure that you put a lid on your paint, you can prevent harmful fumes from contaminating the air, but this also saves money as it stops paint or coating from evaporating.
2. Wear the appropriate PPE
Stopping harmful fumes from getting into the air is one way of preventing illness, but when you are mixing paint, consider wearing a respirator.
Respirators should fit snugly to a person’s face to be able to form a protective seal that stops vapours from getting in. Where men are using respirators, for further protection they could consider having a clean shave so that a respirator can attach to the face properly.
The cartridges for a respirator should also be changed regularly. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how often they recommend you should change the cartridges.
As well as wearing a respirator, to protect your whole face you can also consider wearing goggles to specifically protect your eyes or a face shield.
3. Clothing that protects
Whilst a respirator can help to protect your breathing, wearing the correct clothing can protect your skin. Skin can also absorb these harmful chemicals leading to complications later in life.
Good clothing for mixing paint includes chemical resistant gloves, such as nitrile or butyl rubber gloves, and paint suits that offer adequate protection for your skin.
You should also follow the recommendations of the manufacturers, and if you notice tears or other damage to your safety equipment, remove them and discard them immediately.
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4. Protect the environment
It’s not just humans that paints and solvents can be harmful to. When mixing paints, you should consider the impact that it can have on the environment, in terms of air pollution and waste.
Reduce your waste by only using the amount of paint that you need, and consider safely storing leftover paints and primers so that you can reuse them in the future.
5. Where you mix the paint
Vapours from paints, coating, lacquers and other aerosols are more harmful when used indoors because there is nowhere for the fumes to escape. When mixing paints, you should do so outdoors to prevent the build up of these harmful vapours which will be hazardous to anyone who comes into contact with it.
You should also put protection on the floor when mixing the paint to catch any spillages or leaks. You could use an old sheet to catch these spillages, which you can reuse, or some plastic wrap that is easier to dispose of, but more harmful to the environment.
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