How to keep safe when using spray paints
What are the hazards of using spray paints
Many of the materials, such as paint, primer, solvents, sealers, coaters or hardeners, that you use when spraying can contain hazardous chemicals that can be released when mixing, spraying, grinding or sanding. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can lead to sickness, skin conditions such as rashes or dermatitis, and conditions that effect the lungs, such as asthma or even lung cancer.
These chemicals can also contain flammable substances which creates a fire hazard, but a high build-up of these vapours can also lead to an explosion hazard.
How to protect your team from spray paint hazards
Spray booth – if you are spraying an item that fits into a spray booth, this is the best option to ensure the safety of the person spraying. Properly maintained spraying booths will help to protect your team from breathing problems, and removes vapours to prevent explosion hazards.
Hearing protection – Air powered tools like spraying machines are loud pieces of machinery that can cause hearing damage if people are exposed to them for long periods without protection. Provide hearing protection to members of your team who you know will be working with loud equipment.
Grinding protection – Something that painters may need to do from time to time is sand or grind materials to get a better finish. Grinding or sanding creates small particles of the material that go into the air. When sanding or grinding, your team should be wearing eye protection and masks so that these particles don’t enter the eyes or lungs, where it can cause major damage.
Hazardous fumes – Protecting your team from hazardous fumes is vital, and can be done as simply as using the correct PPE equipment. A mixture of air filters and vapour respirators with airlines can protect your team from being exposed to hazardous fumes.
Correct clothing – Disposable overalls should be worn by your team when they are working with paints. This will protect the clothing that they are wearing underneath, but consider using washable overalls rather than single use ones to help the environment.
Eating, drinking or smoking – Under no circumstances should your team eat, drink or smoke when spray painting. Some paints can be toxic when ingested, so should be kept well away from food or communal eating areas. Smoking can also be dangerous, as it could ignite a pocket of vapours and explode.
Storage – Paints, solvents, seals, hardeners and other materials should be properly stored in well ventilated areas, away from smoking areas and away from communal areas. This will keep your team safe from hazardous chemicals and potential explosive hazards.
Painting ergonomics – Knowing how to safely use painting equipment is essential in keeping your team safe. Spray guns should be balanced, easy to hold and use a hoist or dolly to ensure that they can be easily moved. Frequent breaks should be taken to help keep your team safe from strains, sprains and other musculoskeletal injuries.
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