Spray paint safety

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Spray painting poses health hazards that affect the respiratory, nervous, and circulatory systems. Similarly, using solvents to clean one’s hands of paint marks and residue may cause skin irritation or even more serious issues since many are carcinogenic or neurotoxic. There are risks involved in working with substances such as paint and thinner, which contain compounds that are potentially harmful to health, or even fatal.[1]

Risk control[edit]

Foremost in spray paint safety is proper orientation and training for personnel who are responsible for conducting the painting procedures. Acquiring a high level of competence in handling spray paint products is the best measure of preventing injuries and illness in the workplace. It is imperative that sprayers undergo extensive training from a professional training provider or from the product supplier.

People who make use of spray paint technology must be given full awareness of the risks and hazards of the procedure that they perform, not only to them but also to other people who become exposed to the paint. The next step is to attain knowledge and skill on controlling the risk factors. In relation to these, they must also be given training with regard to the correct use and maintenance of safety equipment.

As part of the training, they should also be given access to information about proper disposal of wastes and materials that are contaminated with potentially harmful chemicals. Decontamination procedures should be mastered as well before the staff is allowed to conduct spray-painting procedures. Access to and familiarity with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for various products in imperative.

Proper recordkeeping[edit]

One of the basic tenets of risk control is maintenance of updated health records of personnel handling spray paint products. Confidential data on biological monitoring[2] results must also be filed and organized for easy access and retrieval. Health surveillance records can play an important role in determining proper medical intervention in case an accident in the workplace occurs.

In addition, risk control also involves proper documentation and record keeping, particularly on the schedule and result of testing procedures. Some of the most important tests to be conducted on a regular basis are air quality testing, testing of pressure systems and electrical systems, and testing of compressor reservoir air filters.

The records must be accurate. Moreover, they must be ready for perusal by inspectors that come to the facility to ascertain that safety and preventive measures are being implemented.

Essential personal protective equipment[edit]

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be used when handling spray paint materials, particularly PPE that offers protection to the skin, when the products to be used contain highly reactive ingredients. Some of the essential personal protective equipment are overalls with a hood, protective goggles for the eyes, half-mask respirators, and single use nitrile gloves,

Usage of appropriate respiratory protective equipment[edit]

One of the most essential types of PPE is respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Nevertheless, it should be noted that basic RPE does not offer ample protection from the negative effects of isocyanates in human tissue. Paint products containing isocyanates must be handled while donning air-fed RPE that has a 20 or higher APF (assigned protection factor).

Air-fed respiratory protective equipment needs extra attention since they provide breathable air to the user. When in use, measures must be implemented to prevent contamination of the air supply since there is a risk of harmful substances entering the intake valve if it is not positioned outside of the spray area.

Health monitoring measures[edit]

In order to avoid development of illnesses associated with exposure to isocyanates, health authorities recommend that people who use spray paint products that contain the substance provide a urine sample after a work shift at least once a year. A urine sample with ascertain levels of exposure, not the presence of disease associated with harmful chemicals. This is an important preventative measure particularly for individuals who are regularly subjected to isocyanate exposure. Those who are at greater risk are personnel that apply spray paint with greater frequency than others, or individuals who spray the product on a larger surface area.

It is highly recommended that new employees assigned to handle substances containing isocyanates provide urine samples regularly in the first few months on the job. This health surveillance practice is an effective means of determining whether the protective and preventive measures are 100% foolproof. One of the benefits of this health monitoring measure is provision of data to confirm that monitoring measures are implemented rigorously. If there are any gaps in procedure, then the shortcomings will be identified early on. Checking that controls are working go a long way in preventing increased exposure to harmful substances.

Fire and explosion[edit]

Many products used in spray painting are flammable such that fire risk is likely within a distance of 15 centimetres from the nozzle. As such, ignition sources must be placed at a safe distance. In addition, there is a risk of dust explosions when finely-divided paint particles become airborne.

Proper storage[edit]

Since, paints and thinners are fire hazards, extra care must be taken not only while they are in use. Fire safety should also be considered when storing paint supplies. [3] In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines for the proper storage of flammable materials.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Safety in isocyanate paint...
  2. ^ "What is biological monitoring?" (PDF). UK Government Health & Safety Laboratory. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  3. ^ SMART paint spraying
  4. ^ "Flammable and Combustible Liquids - 29 CFR 1910.106". OSHA. Retrieved 18 November 2015.