3 Common Industrial Painting Mistakes & How To Avoid Them
Regardless of your workplace and the number of employees in your company, the environment should have practical guidelines on safety. Taking safety measures on-site will protect your employees and ensure any project is completed successfully without any mishap. Industrial painting and protective coating projects require visual cues to help in spotting and avoiding dangerous things. Your painting project shouldn't result in a trip to an emergency room in the hospital.
You want to adhere to safety measures when painting as it’s a highly hazardous process. During painting, employees engage in operations that expose them to risks such as electrocution, falling objects, and exposure to toxic substances. Additionally, they can be struck by heavy equipment.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the basic standards of safety developed by Safety Work Australia and Dulux Protective Coating to help you, the painting contractor, identify, reduce, or eliminate the risks involved in industrial painting operations.
Industrial Painting Hazards
Some of the hazards involved are:
1. Confined working space
Painters have to work partly or entirely in confined spaces with restricted exit and entry points, as well as poor ventilation. The main hazards posed by such work environments include explosive, toxic or flammable vapours and mechanical and engulfment equipment, as well as lack of oxygen. This can either result in death, brain damage, crush injuries, poisoning, asphyxiation and suffocation, electrocution, and burns.
Healthline has also discussed the health impacts of paint fumes, and what effect it can have on your body.
2. Explosion and fire
Most paints have flammable substances. If you are spray painting and the painting mist comes across an ignition source, it can be hazardous. The origin of such ignition can either be cutting torches, welding, cigarettes, lighters, and matches. Others include portable electric tools, electrical equipment, and chemical reactions.
A painter's body may experience heat stress, leading to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, cramps, heat rash, dehydration, discomfort, or irritability. People with skin disorders, as well as those dehydrated, overweight, unfit, and inappropriately dressed are at a higher risk of heat stress.
Spray painting equipment and plant
The equipment for spray painting includes hoses, PPEs (personal protective equipment), ventilation systems, pumps, compressors, booths, and spray guns. Spray painters work with a range of plants that expose them to high risks of injection injuries, hazardous chemicals, excessive noise, and electric shock.
However, safety measures can be applied to avoid such hazards. Here are five safety tips to protect your workers from dangerous accidents.
1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Good painting practices ensure that the lungs, eyes, and skin are always protected. Some of the PPEs used in industrial painting include respirators, goggles, coveralls, gloves, and dust masks, among others.
The choice of PPEs is based on the nature of the task, the debris resulting from sanding surfaces and scraping off existing paint, and chemicals to be used.
Goggles protect your eyes against particles when spray painting, grinding, and sanding. Overalls and gloves prevent chemicals from coming into contact with your skin. You may also need hearing protection when operating with tools powered by air. A dust mask is essential when sandblasting, but if you are working with sprayers, you should use an organic vapour respirator to prevent spray paint from getting into your lungs.
2. Ensure quality ventilation
Painting contractors require proper training to ensure appropriate dissolving and management of paints, especially when working in enclosed rooms where they can affect your health. If there are doors and windows, they should always be open to minimise the risks of these health hazards. You can also use fans or other equipment to ensure fresh air is flowing continuously. This will help to clear any harmful chemicals and odours in the air, maintaining the space clean and safe.
3. Prevention of falls
Falls from high walls are some of the common accidents at the workplace. However, you can easily prevent falls from roofs, ladders, and scaffolds with safety measures and the right equipment. Before commencing the work, your site supervisor needs to plan the involved activities accurately, how the tasks will be performed, and the safety equipment required to get your project done. You must also ensure all the employees are trained well on how to use the equipment and for hazard recognition.
4. Avoid working with solvents
Pure solvents are used to dissolve pigments and for thinning paints. Although solutions aren't inherently dangerous, improper management of these materials may affect your health severely. So, always ensure there is a fire extinguisher near you and put on the right protective gear for eyes.
Getting professionals advice should be a must.
It's always good to take proper safety measures when undertaking small painting projects. You should wear protective gear to keep you from the harsh and toxic chemicals.
However, what if you're in an environment that is too out of your depth? Spray painting and industrial painting mostly require the expertise of trained professionals who are always prepared and putting safety as a priority. Any mistake done by an untrained worker can result in a poor job done, and more importantly, dramatically increases the risks of any fatal injury from the hazards discussed above.