Painters apply coatings and paint to interior and exterior building surfaces with a variety of jobsites, chemical use, and physical and ergonomic demands.
A lot of painting work is done from heights. Inspect ladders daily, set them properly, and work from ladders safely. Make sure a qualified person properly installed your scaffolding. Do not use makeshift ladders or scaffolds that could fail and cause a fall. Know when to use fall protection and how to use it properly.
Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to learn about the chemicals in paints and surface preparation materials you use. Even though a material may be water-based and labeled “green,” it can still contain hazardous ingredients. Good ventilation protects you from paint fumes. Spray booths, fans, open doors, and windows can move fresh air into your workspace.
Choose and wear proper personal protective equipment. Goggles or safety glasses protect your eyes from paint splashes during application and mixing. Gloves and coveralls protect your skin from absorbing chemicals. Wear a respirator to protect yourself from dusts, spray paint droplets, and the fumes from solvents and paints.
Preparing surfaces by sanding and cleaning can expose you to dust. Get trained in the building hazards of asbestos, mold, and lead. Make sure that trained workers clean up these hazards before you disturb them and make them airborne. Practice good hygiene by washing up during and after work. Keep your work clothes and shoes separate from your family to prevent cross-contamination at home.
Painting is a physical job, so maintain your overall health and fitness. Choose the correct tools for your job task. Use tool handles long enough to prevent you from overreaching. Handles should be soft, non-slip, and fit your hand. Try different models until you get a comfortable fit.
Painting involves repetitive movements and awkward positions. Rotate your job tasks during the day and take rest breaks to prevent fatigue. Use proper lifting techniques to protect your back. Wear comfortable work boots with non-slip soles that will support your feet as you stand all day.
Indoors and out, all year long, painting jobsites expose you to hot and cold weather. Dress in light layers that protect you from the sun and cold. Practice good housekeeping on the jobsite to prevent slips, trips, and falls. When you work alone, secure your jobsite by locking doors and communicate your location and expected job duration with others.