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Spray Painting Safety

Abhijit Naik
Wearing safety glasses during spray painting may feel like a nuisance, but they protect your eyes from the toxic chemicals in the paint, thus making the task safe.
Spray painting is a technique of painting, wherein a spraying device is used to spray a coat of paint onto a particular surface. It is a widely used method of painting, most often used to paint cars, buildings, etc. It is also used to make sign boards and wall graffiti.

Spray Painting Hazards

Spray painting may be one of the most-effective ways of painting, but it has its own drawbacks. It has quite a few hazards associated with it. Various paints, sealers, hardeners, and solvents contain toxic chemicals which can enter our body and adversely affect our health.
A worker indulging in spray painting is likely to come in contact with chemical vapors or toxic chemicals, which may get absorbed by the skin on contact or inhaled. Some coatings also contain inflammable substances which are aerosolized when sprayed with the help of a powerful equipment.
These substances can lead to casualties such as explosion or fire. With all these dangers, it's important to get well-versed with all the safety tips before you start working.

Spray Painting Safety Tips

Before commencing the work, it's essential to read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the chemical that is being used. One should make sure that he wears the necessary safety equipment such as gloves, respirator, safety glasses, etc., to protect himself from the potential threat of toxic chemicals.
The spray booth, which is blocked by barriers to prevent dust or dirt from entering it, should be properly maintained. The equipment used, like filters and over spray, should be regularly cleaned.
Safety masks used for spray painting are broadly categorized into two types. The mask meant to stop dust from entering the lungs can be used when sanding the rusted areas, while the one meant for fumes can be used while painting.
If the area wherein you are painting is properly ventilated, then you might not require the mask meant for fumes, but it's better to have one―after all it is not wise to take chances with your health. If possible, you should use a respirator―a protective mask with a filter―while spray painting.
You should ensure that the inflammable substances are kept away from any source of fire. Smoking while painting, is a strict no. Only tested and certified tools should be used for spray painting. The equipment, especially air-powered tools, make lot of noise. In such circumstances, it's wise to use protective gear for ears.
Grinding and sanding equipment don't just make immense noise, but also produce fine dust particles which may enter your eyes or lungs. Therefore, wearing safety glasses, which will protect your eyes from these foreign particles, is a must.
As the toxic chemicals in paints can penetrate your skin, it is wise to wear gloves when dealing with such paints, especially when using caustic products. Using gloves can ensure that your hands don't come in direct contact with the paint. More importantly, you don't have to use chemicals for paint removal.
If, at all, you smear your hands with paint, instead of using clean up solvents, you can use water-based cleansers to get rid of it. One should also take into consideration accidents that can occur while maneuvering heavy tools required for spray painting.
Use of balanced spray guns, which can easily fit in the hand, or lifting devices to move objects can be of a great help.
Though the use of protective equipment may seem unnecessary, it's of immense importance, considering that they alone can help you stay away from the possible hazards of spray painting.