Safety Tips

Spray Painting

You and the Company

Both you and the company have a responsibility to follow proper safety procedures while painting. You need to sit down and talk about it.

If you think you're all working well as part of a team of competent professionals, then keep up the good work. But a review of procedures is never a waste of time. Stay in a modern groove; keep your equipment and knowledge up-to-date.


Spray painting is a common job. Even so, it's important to know proper safety procedures before spray painting.

Spray painting can be dangerous if you don't follow the Code of Practice and safety procedures.

There are several different spray painting methods:

Compressed air
High velocity airless spray
Electrostatic applicator

Whatever method(s) you use, know the safety rules that apply.

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is your last line of defence!

It's Your Health

Spray painting can have short-term or long-term effects on your health. Watch out for dangerous chemicals in your painting work area. Read the labels of products you use. Know about safety legislation, chemical hazards, respirators, and symptoms of illness or exposure. Be aware of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) and the OHS Legislation.

Symptoms to Watch for

One hazard of spray painting is that you may breathe in or swallow chemicals. You may also be absorbing chemicals through your skin and eyes without even knowing it. Symptoms of overexposure may be:


Drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness
Nausea, vomiting
Eye/throat irritation
Allergic responses, such as hives
Shortness of breath

Long Term:

Heavy metal poisoning (lead, nickel, chromium, and cadmium)
Nerve, kidney, or liver damage
Asthma-like wheezing with tightness in the chest

Safety Data

(Material Safety Data Sheets-MSDS)

Paints and thinners have many ingredients and chemicals in them. Make sure you know which ones you are working with and any possible effects or hazards. Talk to a supervisor or safety specialist and ensure you have site-specific Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) training.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available for each paint you use. These sheets explain the risks, precautions, and proper methods of use. Select products which have lower hazards.

Safety Precaution:

Before you start:

Know how to use your equipment properly by reading the manufacturer's instructions
Use the right booth made for spray painting
Make sure the ventilation system is on and properly functioning - check the filters and change them if needed
Read MSDS, ventilate to draw fumes away from your, and use Respiratory Protective Equipment as required
Prevent fires and remove fire hazards; don't paint near ignition sources such as torches, motors, or heaters
Have the right fire extinguisher on hand
Ground all spraying equipment
Don't take more paint out of the store room than you can use in one day

Protect Your Best Investment - You

While spray painting you will need:

Appropriate respiratory protection
Eye protection
Clean coveralls
Barrier creams for you hands, face, and neck
Proper product for cleanup

Make sure your protective equipment and gear fit well. Select the right respirator with the right cartridges.

Always follow established Respiratory Codes of Practice.

Home Work

No doubt you've got as much work to do around the home as you do on the job. You take pride in your "home work". But don't take safety shortcuts just to get the job done sooner. Take every precaution that you would at work and more. Your co-workers know the rules to follow - your family needs to know too.

Make sure the rules are clear when you start the job at home. When the painting equipment is put away make sure the children know it's there to stay. Show them the right place and tell them why tools aren't toys.

Use products with lower hazards. Don't work inside your home unless you can guarantee proper ventilation and have eliminated all fire hazards. Set the example and don't smoke while preparing for or doing this kind of work.

Remember - practicing safety is the best way to teach safety.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.