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Toolbox talk on spray painting safety

spray painting toolbox talk

Toolbox talk on spray painting.

Spray painting releases harmful substances easily into the environment. Spray Paint usually involves vanishing, lacquer or coatings. The toxic substance can affect the worker doing the job and anyone in the immediate environment. Spray painting is one aspect of painting with liquid under pressure. Other types of painting will make you use a hand brush or roller to apply the paint on a surface. Vapours released from the activity are toxic and can lead to health damage. And people shouldn’t breathe it in. 

It is advisable to spray in an environment where there are fewer people or where there is no exposure to persons apart from the painter. 

The spray painting has three methods by which you can do them. The three methods are 

  • Conventional high-pressure spraying 
  • Airless spraying 
  • High-volume low-pressure spraying 

The difference between the three methods is in the application mode of the paint on the surface.

  • Conventional high-pressure painting uses the air from an air compressor and an air gun. In this method, you trigger the air gun. The paint mixes with the compressed air stream and then releases a fine spray from the nozzle.
  • Airless spraying involves using a high-pressure pump with pressure between 300 and 7500 PSI. The pressurized paint container forces the paint to the nozzle. Then, it is atomized by the spray gun.
  • High-volume low-pressure spraying is similar to the conventional high-pressure system, but the difference is between higher volume and lower pressure. However, the three methods aim at applying paint to a surface.

Which industry uses spray painting?

There are lots of industries where spray painting is in use. These industries include 

  • Shipbuilding industry
  • Metal fabrication shops 
  • Furniture and door manufacturing 
  • What are the hazards of spray painting 
  • Sandblasting and coating facilities
  • Appliance manufacturing facilities

Spray painting hazards

There is a plethora of hazards associated with spray painting. These hazards often emanate from the type of paint or the coating and the application process in the spray painting. Most of the time, a spray-painting risk assessment is required to ascertain the risk of these hazards and the likely controls for them. The paint materials are toxic and hazardous. They contain a compound called isocyanates that are harmful to the body through contact and inhalation. 

Hazards associated with spray painting 

  • Fumes.
  • Vapour from the paint and coating
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Manual handling risk.

Short- and Long-term effects of vapour exposure. 

Short-term effects from being exposed to vapour from paint spraying can result in the following 

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Nose irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Lung’s irritation
  • Stress
  • fatigue

The long-term effects of being exposed to paint and coating are 

  • Cancer.
  • Asthma.
  • Breathing damage.
  • Respiratory problem.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Liver failure.
  • Reproductive system damage.
  • Central nervous system damage.

Fire and explosion. 

Fire and explosion are one of the hazards of spray painting. The solvent in paints is highly flammable. They are potentially explosive atmospheres that can start a fire in the presence of an ignition source. The fire can give rise to burns, property damage, explosion and worst-case death. 

Manual handling risk.

Spray painting is a manual activity. The activity exposes the workers to carrying a load from one location to another. It takes a physical toll on the worker. The repetitive task, over-exertion of the muscles, and the awkward position from spray painting result in many risks for the worker. It can lead to muscle strain, headache, back pain, fatigue, stress, and tiredness.

Hazardous substances that are available in the workplace

Aside from paints, other hazardous substances are dangerous to the human body. They are 

  • Solvents
  • Powders
  • Lacquers
  • Adhesives
  • Rust removers
  • Paint strippers
  • Surface preparation products

Spray painting in a confined space.

When spray painting in a confined space, consider ventilating the area for many reasons. 

  • To offer room for the worker to breathe effectively. 
  • To prevent asphyxiation in such an environment. 
  • The paint vapours spread quickly as potentially explosive atmospheres and can start a fire in the presence of an ignition source. 
  • In confined spaces like the cavities of vehicles, ships, aircraft and tanks, there is always limited oxygen available for the worker doing the painting work. So, the workers need to take this precaution seriously.

Hazard control measures for spray painting hazards

There are varieties of measures that can be put in place to control the hazards of spray painting. The hierarchy of control measures can offer us an approach to how to carry out the control measures. 


  • Use of low-hazard products instead of more hazardous ones
  • Use of water-based products instead of solvent-based chemicals
  • Usage of paint brush or roller instead of spray gun. 


  • Using a spray booth in the spray-painting activities so that other workers are isolated from hazards.

Engineering control

  • Use a ventilating system like local exhaust ventilation in the spray-painting area to trap and extract hazardous fumes and vapours.

Administrative control

  • Restricting more workers from accessing the painting area.
  • Introducing a Job rotation for workers.
  • Introducing a job break to offer time to rest in between work.

Use of personal protective equipment.

The PPE are 

  • Eye Goggle.
  • Hand gloves.
  • Coveralls and aprons.
  • Respirators.
  • Safety boots.

Summary of what to do to ensure spray painting safety today?

  • Ensure that you are familiar with the task before engaging in it.
  • Do not expose yourself to unnecessary risk if you have any health challenges with your breathing system. 
  • Determine the task duration and ensure you work with it to reduce your exposure to the risk.
  • Remove anything that might start a fire around the spraying environment like flames, fuel and smoking.
  • Inspect all electrical equipment, bulbs, and cables around the area and possibly unplug them from power sources,
  • Make sure there is no heat around the area because that would be dangerous. 
  • Avoid contact with the paint with your eye.
  • Wash your hands with detergent after use
  • Make provision for emergency kits if contact with the eye. 
  • Ensure you wear the correct type of respirator for the activity.
  • Cover all your body parts and do not expose any part of your body throughout the painting activity. 
  • Always ventilate the area of the painting. Possibly paint outside. Avoid painting indoors. 
  • Always wear your necessary PPE and make sure they are in good condition.
  • If using High Heat paint, read the back of the product label to ensure the expected heat is within the recommended temperature range.

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