Whether you are an avid DIY-er giving your living room a facelift or a professional painter about to start a new job, it is important to understand that painting can come with certain health risks. Luckily, with a little bit of knowledge and the right safety equipment you can get the job done safely.
Hazards in Painting Work
Although painting might seem like a relatively risk-free endeavor, the truth is, it can cause serious bodily harm if the right precautions are not taken. One reason for this is that paint is made out of chemicals that are harmful to people. When it lands on unprotected skin or eyes, it can cause severe irritation. Paint fumes can also cause respiratory problems and headaches.
Another reason is that certain products used in painting, such as oil primer and paint thinner, are highly flammable. Without careful handling, painters run the risk of burns. Finally, exterior painting often requires working at heights, which places painters at risk of falling and injuring themselves.
Different Types of Painting and Related Risks
If you are about to embark on a painting project, you need to know about the risks associated with the type or types of painting you will be doing. Here is a concise overview of the different types of painting and related risks:
- Brush painting: Brush painting is the most basic type of painting. It is commonly used to paint wood — for example, window sills, door frames and other wood work. It is also used for decorative paint styles and can be used for walls. The risks associated with brush painting include spills on skin as well as paint splashes in the eyes. Because a lot of brush painting involves oil- or solvent-based paint, it can also cause headaches and breathing issues.
- Roller application: Roller application is frequently used for interior walls and ceilings. Risks include paint splashes on the skin and in the eyes. Painters can also run the risk of pulling a muscle or incurring another type of injury due to working in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you are doing this as a profession the damage to your body can compound over time. Paint rolling can also come with respiratory risks without proper ventilation or respiratory protection.
- Spray painting: Spray painting is most often used for large surfaces such as lobbies and exteriors of large buildings. Painters run the risk of getting paint particles in their eyes. Paint particles and fumes may also irritate their respiratory system. For this reason, health and safety precautions and equipment are extremely important for spray painting. This often includes protective eyewear, clothing and respiratory protection.
- Painting at heights: The painting of anything that is not at ground level can be dangerous. Painters can injure themselves severely by just falling off a stepladder! Those who work at heights must take considerable safety precautions, as a fall could be fatal. This may involve scaffolding or safety harnesses.
In addition, activities that are involved in painting preparations and cleanup can also bring risks.
Oftentimes, wooden surfaces need to be sanded before they are painted. This can lead to scrapes on the hands as well as dust in the eyes and respiratory system. How harmful this dust is will often depend on what you are sanding – old paint, wood, etc.
Cleaning paint brushes and other tools often requires the use of paint thinner, depending on the type of paint used. If this is exposed to an open flame or high heat source, it can catch fire and cause serious burns.
PPE for Painting
To keep yourself safe during any residential or commercial painting project, you need the right personal protective equipment (PPE):
- Gloves: Always wear gloves to protect your hands. Leather or cloth gloves are sufficient for sanding. Solvent-resistant gloves are required for handling paint thinner and other solvents. Impermeable gloves are best for water- and oil-based paint.
- Eye wear: Use protective eye glasses, eye goggles or a face shield whenever handling paint or paint thinners. It is especially important when painting above your head or spray painting, as well as when sanding.
- Paint masks: Wear a dust mask or particulate respirator when sanding. If you are very sensitive to chemicals, you should also wear a respiratory mask when using a brush or roller. Note that if you are painting outside in an area with lots of birds, you may need to wear a mask to protect yourself from the harmful pathogens in bird droppings. When you are spray painting, you are best advised to use a paint respirator, as this offers more protection for your airways.
- Coveralls and shoe covers: A disposable or cotton coverall and disposable shoe covers serve to protect both your clothing and any exposed skin that could become irritated by contact with paint.
- Hard hat: If you are working at heights, a hard hat is a wise safety precaution, as it can help protect your head if you fall. Additionally, if you are working on a busy construction site, it will protect your head if an object falls on you.
- Fall arrest: A fall arrest system can consist of a single carabiner or double carabiner that can be attached to a railing to prevent you from falling. It often comes with a harness that straps around the torso and legs for added safety. Scaffolding may also be used in some situations to prevent injuries from falls.
- Fire extinguisher: It is always important to keep a fire extinguisher on site in case there are any incidents with flammable materials such as paint thinner.
PPE From Construction Fasteners and Tools
At Construction Fasteners and Tools, we sell a wide range of personal protective equipment, including:
- Chemical and leather gloves as well as cotton liners
- Safety glasses for painting, goggles, over-the-glasses and face shields
- Dust masks and respirators
- Coveralls, disposable coveralls and overalls
- Shoe covers
- A variety of hard hats and accessories
- Fall arrest anchors, harnesses, lanyards and retractables
- Fire extinguishers
When you purchase your personal protective equipment from Construction Fasteners and Tools, you get not only top-notch products, but also the outstanding customer service we pride ourselves on.
We treat all our customers with the greatest care, regardless of the size of their purchase. Our online store offers clear and concise information about all available products as well as a quick, easy and secure checkout system.
Shop online for your personal protective equipment today!