potential hazards, since continuous and automatic precautionary measures will minimize the problem
and improve both the efficiency and the morale of your painting crew.
a. Paint Materials. Most paint materials are hazardous to some degree. All paints, except
water-based paints, are flammable; many are toxic; and others can irritate the skin. If simple precautions
are followed by personnel, however, most paints are quite safe.
b. Surface-Preparation Materials. Painting often requires the use of solvent, acid, or alkali
cleaners for surface preparation. All of these will harm your skin unless you use them with care. Paint
removers are also very irritating to the skin. The use of high-pressure abrasives or water-blasting
methods may expose you to hazards. Pressures as low as 10 to 15 pounds per square inch have been
known to cause serious injuries. In addition, carelessness during the use of abrasive-blasting operations
may result in lung disease after continued exposure. Steam-cleaning procedures employ high heat and
pressure; both are very hazardous to the operator and personnel nearby if you do not follow safety
procedures and handle the equipment properly.
c. Equipment. Ladders, scaffolds, and rigging must be used by painters for areas that are not
readily accessible from the floor or ground. Pressure equipment is used to prepare surfaces and to apply
paint. All of this equipment can be extremely hazardous if you handle it carelessly. Your actual
operation time of this equipment may be less than the time required to prepare it for use; nevertheless,
you should not omit precautions on the basis that risk decreases in proportion to the time operated.
d. Environment. Painting conditions will vary from job to job. One obviously hazardous
location is the interior of a tank. However, painting the interior of a small room or closet may be more
hazardous, since there is often no special precautions taken and inadequate ventilation may be provided.
Furthermore, your painting personnel may encounter other hazards that exist in the area in which they
are working in addition to the hazards inherent in the painting operation. For example, slippery floors or
obstacles located on the floor may cause falls. Electrical or mechanical equipment may produce shocks
or other serious injuries. Uninsulated steam lines or hot pipes may cause severe burns or too rapid
e. Painting Crew. A potential threat to the safety of your crew and others in the painting area is
painting personnel who lack training, experience, or knowledge of the hazards involved. An element of
risk is present even when well-trained workers follow all of the prescribed safety procedures. Taking
proper precautions will reduce this risk to a minimum, but no safeguard can guarantee protection against
ignorance. Careless performance by even a trained painter will also increase hazards tremendously.
Deviating from established procedures by taking shortcuts will often produce unsafe working
conditions. This practice may result in accidents with the consequential loss of time and materials, and
of greatest concern, human suffering.
f. Degree of Hazard. The risks involved vary from job to job. Painting the interior of a home
with water-based paints, for example, is much less hazardous than painting a water tank 100 feet above
the ground. You, as the foreman, must be responsible for taking the special precautions necessary,
designating the equipment required, and advising your crew of the specific hazards for each job.
Though hazards in jobs may vary in degrees, you