Painting can be dangerous. The careless use and storage of paints and related materials can cause needless injuries. Safe painting has two aspects:
• Safety of the painter and other people
• Safety of property
Most important, of course, is personal safety. This includes using a ladder properly. First inspect the ladder. Never use a ladder that is cracked or broken. A ladder should never be painted because paint may cover a dangerous crack. Place the ladder on a firm base and at the proper slant
Personal safety also includes proper use of chemicals such as:
Many of the cleansers used to prepare surfaces for painting are caustic. That means they will burn flesh and often ruin clothing. All dangerous cleansers have warning labels. Such labels warn against getting the cleanser on your skin, in your eyes, swallowing it, or using it without adequate ventilation. The labels will tell you what to do if one of these things happens. Read the entire warning label before you use the product.
Once the surface is ready, there are more labels to read. Paints and thinners also have directions and warning labels that must be read.
Use the correct thinner for the paint you are using. The wrong thinner can make your paint and brush as hard as concrete. Paint thinner, mineral spirits, or turpentine is used to thin and clean up oil based paints. Alcohol dissolves shellac. Lacquer thinner will cut lacquer.
All paint thinners have one thing in common: they evaporate fast. This means that thinner gets into the air where it is easy to breathe. Besides being dangerous to your health, thinner mixed with air is explosive. One spark can set it off.
Always ventilate the working area. Open at least two doors or windows, on opposite walls if possible. Leave them open until the paint has dried.
Fire is another threat. Under certain conditions some stored chemicals can explode into flames. This is called spontaneous combustion. All flammable materials should be kept in airtight containers to prevent spontaneous combustion.
Paints can also be dangerous. Lead based paint is poisonous, and most states have outlawed the use of lead in paints. Never use paint with lead in it.
Spraying is one of the best and one of the most dangerous ways to apply paint. Always wear a face mask when spray painting. Be especially careful where you use a spray gun. Sprayed paints can drift a long way, and it doesn’t take much to ruin the paint on a car or nearby house. Spray paint doesn’t just disappear into the air. Sooner or later it lands somewhere.
Whenever you paint indoors be sure to ventilate the room. Openings at opposite sides of the room are better than two openings in the same area.
Keep chemical containers closed tightly when not in use. Store them in fireproof cabinets. Place rags in fireproof metal containers. Dispose of chemical soaked rags as soon as possible.
Property is often damaged because painters forget how far sprayed paint can be carried by the wind.