Spray Painting Hazards

Public news

The processes involved in spray painting and powder coating are hazardous due to a combination of factors such as the use, handling, and storage of hazardous chemicals, or exposure to electrical, noise, manual handling, or plant hazards.

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) involved in spray painting or powder coating must eliminate risks associated with this work, or if that is not reasonably practicable, minimise the risks.

As the PCBU you must manage the risks associated with:

  • using, handling, generating or storing of hazardous chemicals, including ensuring that hazardous chemicals are correctly labelled and that workers can access current Safety Data Sheets
  • electrical equipment, including ensuring that any unsafe electrical equipment is disconnected from its electricity supply
  • ignition sources in hazardous atmospheres - flammable or combustible substances are to be kept at the lowest practicable quantity
  • musculoskeletal disorders related to hazardous manual tasks

Workers' health should also be monitored.

Spray painting booths

Spray painting booths that are enclosed or partially enclosed structures are designed to prevent or reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals or vapours.

A spray booth should be used when spray painting with a hazardous chemical, except when:

  • the shape, size or weight of an article cannot be easily moved or fit into a spray booth e.g. painting a building, bridge or large boat
  • the painting involves minor work such as spotting or touch-ups e.g. painting a scratch or stone chip on a car (painting a car panel with two-pack polyurethane paint would not be regarded as minor work).

Where it is not reasonably practicable to do spray painting in a booth and it is carried out in a building or structure (other than a confined space), the building or structure should be of open construction or a mechanical exhaust system should be used to prevent the build-up of flammable or toxic fumes.

Some hazardous chemicals (e.g. arsenic, benzene) are prohibited for spray painting.

Review of processes

Workplaces and work environments can change as new hazards get introduced or when current hazards are eliminated.

Therefore, you should regularly review your spray-painting processes, in consultation with your workers and the Code, to ensure they remain adequate and effective in managing associated risks.

As a PCBU, you have the primary duty to ensure that workers and others are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from your work.

PCBUs involved in spray painting and powder coating should refer to: