How to Be Safe With Your Painting Project: Safe Painting is About Preparation, PPE, MSDS, Storage and Disposal

Safe Painting Preparation

Preparation for a painting project in your home is not just about brushes and rollers, masking tape and spill rags. Take the time to ensure that you and all others around you will be safe and remain safe during the job you’re taking on. You’re not properly prepared until you do. Rules for safe work practices are in place because employers have learned what can happen from actual occurrences. With the proper information, you can be just as safe working on these projects at home.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Is A Must When Painting

Being safe on any project isn’t about timely intervention when something goes wrong; it’s about careful prevention to ensure that nothing does. For instance, simple items like disposable latex-free gloves are inexpensive and sensible. Allergies aren’t usually detected before they strike and an allergic reaction to latex or solvent can be severe.
Basic articles of safety clothing are recommended when handling paint or related products you are unfamiliar with. These are latex-free disposable gloves (to prevent against allergies as previously mentioned), safety goggles (to protect against splashes or spills), disposable coveralls (to keep your clothing free of residue that can later irritate your skin) and a filtered respirator (for safe air, only when required for the product type). If using spray paint from a can, there are masks similar to dust masks used by drywallers but with a meshed charcoal filter that prevents the user from inhaling the airborne particles.
MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) Are Very Important To Keep Close By
If you’re using any kind of paint product that you are unfamiliar with, regardless of whether or not it requires mixing components together or wearing special respirators, do not take chances where your health is concerned. Be sure to request the MSDS from your retailer and keep this information close to where you are working on your project. Retailers should immediately provide these to you without question or hesitation; you shouldn’t have to ask but sometimes a little reminder is necessary.
Advise a friend or family member about the project you’re going to do before you get started, particularly if you’re doing it on your own. Make this person aware of where the MSDS are in case you are overcome by fumes or have an allergic reaction and are unable to communicate. If you can’t advise someone ahead of time, place the MSDS in a clearly labeled plastic bag and hang it in plain sight of where you’re working. Should something unexpected happen, the doctors or emergency personnel will need to know as quickly as possible exactly what you’ve been exposed to.Take precautions to ensure that children or the elderly aren’t exposed to the fumes or the physical product. This rule follows for anyone in any age group but these two demographics are the most vulnerable and require special attention.

Staying Safe Between Painting Projects Is Important Too

It is best not to store any oil-based paints or solvents associated with them inside your home. A shed or garage are much safer places for these; a shed is preferred if the garage is attached to the house. Aside from the flammability, improperly sealed or punctured cans can allow fumes to escape creating a respiratory hazard. If the storage place of choice is unheated, keep in mind that while oil-based paints won’t freeze, they will become extremely thick when exposed to extreme cold. Be sure to let them gradually return to room temperature before putting them back in use.

Paint, coatings, solvents and related items should be stored on low shelves where they can be easily reached. High shelves or racking are just asking for accidents. Cans can become stuck or unlevel and, if undetected, reaching for them creates a falling objects hazard, possible spills on skin or in eyes and mouth and unsafe floor surfaces.
Because the containers are being stored on low shelves in readily accessible areas where children or pets can reach, be sure they are closed beyond a possibility of them being touched. Safety caps and metal paint can clips are easy to purchase and go a long way in the name of safety. Better still is a locking cabinet in your garage or shed for such products.

Disposal of Paint or Chemicals Can Be Done Safely

There are different methods for proper disposal of old or unwanted paint and chemicals that don’t cost much and are safe for the environment. Many local fire departments will offer to take your leftover products, usually on a predetermined schedule. You may be able to leave the chemicals at no cost to you or there may be a small donation requested, perhaps for the local food bank or other such charity. Some local painting contractors may be willing to take the product off your hands free of charge if it’s still in useable condition. If they offer this service, it’s usually included in their flyers or Yellow Pages ads.
Please remember that, while taking these precautions with your painting project may seem unnecessary or perhaps even paranoid, prevention like this will seem like nothing compared to an injury or illness should something go wrong. When it comes to the safety of you and your family, erring on the side of caution is always the best plan.

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