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Staying Safe When Painting

By: John Beith - Updated: 21 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Home Painting Decorating Paints Solvents

Any painting jobs you choose to do yourself at home should be a rewarding, enjoyable and above all a safe experience. DIY related injuries in the UK are around the 250,000 mark with accidents involving ladders contributing 1000 injuries a month to these figures. By being aware of the hazards involved in DIY painting tasks-and by following some safety rules you can avoid becoming one of these statistics.

The basics you need for a safe DIY paint job are:

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • A dust mask for sanding or paint removal
  • Shoes with a good grip
  • Old clothing or overalls

Preparation

Preparing for the job in hand is important. You should try and remove as much furniture and clutter as possible from the room your about to paint. The more space you have to work in the safer it is. It reduces the chance of items being damaged or knocked over and lessens the risk of you falling on or tripping over an object and hurting yourself. If a lot of preparation like stripping paint is needed it might be worthwhile taking up the carpets as well.

Any items of furniture left in the room should be covered with dustsheets or plastic sheeting. Dustsheets should also be used to cover the carpet or flooring. Don't use plastic sheeting to cover the floor as you can easily slip on this type of surface and is extremely dangerous if you are using ladders.

Protection

Skin protection-Wear leather or cloth gloves for sanding and scraping. Any solvent based products (paint strippers etc) should be handled using solvent resistant chemical gloves. Non-porous gloves should be worn when applying water based paint.

Eye Protection- Goggles or safety glasses, or a face mask should be worn. It protects the eyes from irritation from dust and grit and any paint splashes.

Lung Protection- Anti dust masks should be worn when sanding and a solvent respirator should be worn when working with any solvent based substances. (Primers, white spirit, solvent based paints etc).

Make sure the room you are working in is well ventilated and any ignition sources are removed from the area. This includes not smoking in the room.

Kid's and Pets

Try and keep any children or animals out of the room being painted. Don't forget to remove pets like goldfish, hamsters or mice. Don't leave any tools lying around where children can reach them, put them safely back in your tool box and leave them somewhere out of reach.

If you are using any electrical equipment like sanders unplug them and turn off sockets after use. Don't leave electrical cords lying around where children can pull or trip over them. If you have finished using the electrical tools put them away.

Keep all products-paint, white spirit, paint stripper well away from children and animals. The fumes given off by some of these chemicals may not harm you, but they may affect a small child or pet. Small children and pets may be tempted to drink some of these products, so make sure they are well supervised and kept as far away from the area being painted as possible.

Ladders

Step ladders are a normal item you use when painting, but they are often the most dangerous. Here are some tips on how to use ladders to lessen the likelihood of an accident.
  • Check the ladder is able to support your weight.
  • Look for any obvious damage to the ladder before, during and after use.
  • Check the steps to make sure they are free from oil, paint or any other substance that could cause you to slip.
  • Make sure the area around the ladder is free from any clutter and any electrical wires or cords are moved away.
  • If you are working in front of a doorway, lock the door to stop people entering the room. If the door can't be locked put a notice outside the door telling people you are working directly behind the entrance and not to enter.
  • Don't place the ladder on an uneven surface or one that is slippery or wet.
  • Always ensure the ladder is supported on all four points.
  • If you're using a ladder wear proper footwear. No bare feet, sandals or heels.
  • Make sure the steps are dry before climbing.
  • Don't over-reach move the ladder instead.
  • If you have high ceilings don't stand on the very top of the ladder. If you can't reach from the top two or three steps, get yourself a bigger ladder.
  • Fold your ladders after use, and store them away. A child may try and climb them or trap their fingers in the folding mechanism.
By listening to this safety advice you can avoid injury to yourself and to others and enjoy looking at what your DIY skills have accomplished at the end of it.

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