Most paints are generally safe to work with, however precautions need to be used to ensure there are no accidents. With my experience in owning a painting company and training painters in the construction and residential areas, precautions should always be taken to prevent fumes from effecting employees or others in the areas. The following guideline tips are recommended when employees are using solvent- or water-based products and varnishes. They are:
- Post “painting in progress” and “no smoking” signs.
- Use all materials in a well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) space.
- If it is necessary to leave items indoors to dry overnight, place “caution-painting in progress” signs on outside doors of the building and open doors and windows as soon as possible.
- Before painting always review the manufacturer’s label and the MSDS to determine proper use, types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed, ventilation requirements, first-aid procedures and safe disposal of the product.
- Wear the appropriate gloves: cloth or leather gloves for sanding and scraping, impermeable (latex) gloves for applying water-based paint, solvent-resistant chemical gloves for handling solvent-based products.
- Always use safety glasses, eye goggles or a face shield for protection.
- Wear an anti-dust mask while sanding a surface.
- Wear a solvent organic respirator if working with solvent-based products.
- Always provide good ventilation by working outdoors or indoors with open windows and doors.
- Remove sources of ignition.
Safety is to be used when organic-based solvents – including white spirit, solvent-based paints, solvent-based thinners and primers, solvent-based wood treatment products as well as paint strippers – represent potential health hazards, and require that particular precaution be taken both in use and in storage. The following guideline tips are recommended:
- Read the label carefully for information on safety and health-related issues.
- Solvents are highly flammable – keep these paints away from all sources of heat, and never expose directly to an open flame.
- Store flammable paints in a flammable storage cabinet when not in use.
- Dispose of rags properly. Rags soaked with oil-based materials can ignite spontaneously.
- Ensure good ventilation by working outdoors or indoors only in a building with open windows and doors.
- Wear required personal protective equipment.
- Keep the general public out of the area. Provide signage identifying the painting area.
Different paints and supplies may require additional safety precautions. Check with the manufacturer/supplier on additional measures that may need to be taken for special items.
Always take special care in working safely with paints.
How To Take the Proper Safety Precautions when Painting – The Home Depot
Copyrighted by Matthew J. Key from his forthcoming book “The Safety Corner”