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Top Health & Safety Considerations for Industrial Coatings

With so many different coatings on the market, made from a variety of ingredients, safety and health procedures are an extremely important issue. It can be confusing to know what’s considered safe and what isn’t, especially when you’re on the job site that requires tight deadlines. But one simple rule to abide by is to always, ALWAYS read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to figure out what ingredients are in the coating and what you can do to protect your safety and health.
 
Check out our most frequently asked questions about coating safety and health considerations.
 
What are some harmful effects of industrial coatings?

  • Skin, mucous membrane and eye irritation
  • Headaches, dizziness and sickness
  • Negative effects on the liver, nervous system, blood, and kidneys
  • Cancer
  • Lung issues

 
What are some harmful ingredients in coatings?
 
VOC Content – Solvents are used in many coatings and contain Volatile Organic Compounds that turn into vapor and can be inhaled. The higher the VOC content, the higher the risk of harmful side effects.
 
Other ingredients – The Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom states these ingredients as “Any preparation (mixture) that is dangerous for supply. Any substance which has a Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL). Any biological agents used at work. Any dust other than one with a WEL at a concentration in air above 10 mg/m3 averaged over 8 hours, or any such respirable dust above 4 mg/m3 over 8 hours. Any other substance that creates a risk to health because of its properties and the way it is used or is present in the workplace.”
 
How should I use the coating?
 
It is better to use a brush or roller to apply a coating vs. spraying. Spraying causes higher vapor levels increasing the chances of inhaling more vapor.
 
Where should I use the coating?
 
The more confined the area, the larger the risk of inhaling the coating or explosions if the coating is flammable. Special precautionary measures need to be taken in confined areas to avoid the risk of damage or death. It is better to use coating outside where there is a constant supply of fresh air.
 
How do I protect myself?
 
Maximize ventilation – Either via mechanical means such as an air mover, or by working outside.
 
Proper storage, mixing and cleaning – Coating should be stored correctly to avoid accidental spillage, and vapor leakage. Any spilled coating should be cleaned thoroughly. Coating mixing should occur in a well ventilated area.
 
Hygiene – It is important to wash hands and change clothes to avoid ingestion or potential risk of flammability.
 
Lung protection – Wear a half or full face mask with replaceable A2P3 filters in poorly ventilated areas for jobs under an hour. Use a fan-assisted respirator with a visor and replaceable TH marked A2P3 filter in poorly ventilated areas for jobs longer than an hour.
 
What’s a safer coatings alternative?
 
Look for a VOC-free vegetable-base coating, like Castagra.