Work Safely-That is the Thing You Need to Know about Hazardous Chemicals

Do you know what hazardous chemicals are in spray paint or powder coating?

Do you know the potential risks they will cause?

Do you know how to manage these risks properly and effectively?


Spraybooth Man is going to tell you these answers. Concluded from Safe Work Australia’s Code of Practice, this article will tell you everything you need to know about hazardous chemicals.



Identify Hazardous Chemicals


There are many kinds of hazardous chemicals in your daily work of spray painting and powder painting. For example, paints, solvents, powders, lacquers, paint trippers, adhesives, surface preparation products, rust converters and rust removers. Generally speaking, the product label and Safety data sheets (SDS) will identify any hazardous chemicals. So Spraybooth Man suggests you always read the label and the SDS before using a hazardous chemical. And if you notice anything listed below (Table 1), you should safely use it after reading all the information and precautions.


Table 1: Example of hazard information on labels and safety data sheets.

Source: Code of Practice | Spray Painting and Powder Coating


Therefore, the exposure to hazardous chemicals is the significant risk in spray painting and powder coating activities including during preparation, storage, clean-up and disposal.

There is one more tip to deserve your attention that the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS) Regulations prohibit and restrict the use of some hazardous chemicals. The following chemicals must not be used, handled or stored for spray painting:

  • arsenic

  • arsenic compounds

  • benzene (benzol), if the substance contains more than 1 per cent by volume

  • carbon disulphide (carbon bisulphide)

  • lead carbonate

  • methanol (methyl alcohol), if the substance contains more than 1 per cent by volume

  • tetrachloroethane

  • tetrachloromethane (carbon tetrachloride), and

  • tributyl tin.


Assess the Risks


Many liquid paints and powder paints contain flammable substances. Spray painting vapours and mists as well as powder paints used in powder coating can spread rapidly, particularly in an enclosed space, such as spray booths, and create a potentially explosive atmosphere.

A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must realize that hazardous chemicals have the high potential to cause different types and severities of harm. From the perspective of health, it can be ranged from minor discomfort to serious injury or death. For a short period of time, your workers may experience headaches, nausea or vomiting, and irritation to the nose, throat and lungs. And for long term health effects, it may cause cancer and damage to the reproductive system and central nervous system.


Many chemicals used in spray painting or powder coating also have physicochemical hazards. For example, many organic solvents are flammable and some chemicals used for cleaning or surface preparation may be corrosive.


Control the Risk


Administrative Control


Keep in mind that you must always aim to eliminate a hazard and associated risk first. If this is not reasonably practicable, you can minimize the risk by choosing substitutions listed below.

  • Use a water-based paint instead of an organic solvent-based coating

  • Use a brush or roller instead of a spray gun

  • Use triglycidyl isocyanurate-free (TGIC) powder coating instead of one containing TGIC

  • Use high volume low pressure spraying rather than airless spraying

  • Use a low hazard cleaning solvent

  • Suitable personal protective equipment, for example breathing protection, gloves, aprons and protective eyewear.


Engineering Control


Spraybooth after cleaning

The most effective engineering controls for reducing worker exposure are booths, local exhaust ventilation and automation of the powder coating process. In particular:

  • application of powder coatings should be performed in a booth where practicable

  • local exhaust ventilation should be used when conducting in all your painting work

  • use automatic spray guns, feed lines and feed equipment

  • prevent unnecessary powder build-up inside powder coating booths by minimising spray gun air pressure to prevent overspray

  • interlock the power supply and powder coating feed lines with the air extraction system so that if a fault develops in the ventilation system, the powder coating and power supplies are cut off

  • prevent or minimise the generation of dust by containing the opening of powder coating packages, loading of hoppers and reclaiming of powder, and

  • minimise the generation of dust when filling the hopper by considering the layout of the workstation and the size of the hopper opening.


The control measures that are put in place to protect the health and safety of employees should be regularly reviewed to make sure they are effective. If you find any problems, and you can’t solve it by yourself, it is time for professional consultancy.


Just contact PSM Australia, all your problems will be solved professionally, ethically and legally.



Concluded from Code of Practice | Spray Painting and Powder Code, Safe Work Australia 2015

Some images are from the Internet.

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