When most people think of automotive painting, it doesn’t usually fall into what they would consider a high-risk job. But when you consider that it involves working with paint, primer, solvents, and other chemicals in one common space, you start to get an idea that there may be a few safety precautions that need to be taken.
If you’re looking to pursue a career in auto painting, let’s take a look at some of the health risks associated with exposure to harmful chemicals in a paint shop, as well as a few safety tips for avoiding any issues throughout your career.
Health Risks: Why it’s Important to Practice Safety in your Automotive Painting Career
In the auto painting industry, the most popular way to apply paint, primers, and clear coats is to spray them onto auto bodies using compressed air or airless sprayers, or an electrostatic sprayer. When paint products leave the nozzle, they create fine mists or vapors that can increase your risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. The main ways you can become overexposed to harsh chemicals is by inhaling them or through skin absorption. This can cause:
• eye/skin irritation
• dizziness and nausea
• respiratory irritation
• drowsiness/ dizziness
For these reasons, even the most experienced auto painting pros follow safety procedures around the shop. You may get faster and more efficient at applying coats throughout your career, but safety will remain an essential component of your daily routine in order to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.
Wear Protective Gear Once you Become an Automotive Painting Pro
In recent years, there are several automotive paint products on the market that are less harmful for both professionals and the environment, such as water-based primers. Regardless, the most important piece of safety equipment you can have in your automotive career is a respirator. Respirators are heavy-duty masks that use different levels of filter cartridges to keep fumes out. When choosing a respirator, the most important thing to look for is one that seals comfortably around the edges, so that there’s no risk of vapor or mist getting through.
For jobs that require working with heavier chemical products such as paint strippers and rust removers, paint shops typically keep a supply of coveralls so that you don’t have to worry about getting anything abrasive on your skin. Goggles can also be a useful piece of safety gear in order to protect your eyes, and there are also respirators that come with a full visor for extra protection.
Auto Panting Shops Require Proper Ventilation and Product Storage
Because of the use of potentially hazardous products, auto paint shops require ventilation that’s in accordance with provincial and federal bylaws. You’ll learn in your auto painting courses that ventilation systems in spray booths and spray rooms are designed to remove toxic and flammable fumes through a filter. Once you find employment, you might be trained on how and when to replace air filters in order to keep your work environment safe at all times. In many cases, the ventilation system will be set up to the same pneumatic pumps that power your spraying equipment, so that both can only work at the same time.
Some products you’ll use will also be highly flammable, so you’ll also learn the proper safety procedures for placing and storing products in the shop. For example, you’ll need to keep certain products a safe distance from working machinery to avoid any accidents, and they’ll need to be properly stored after use in a cabinet or other safe location.
Want training that will teach you all the latest safety and application techniques in the automotive painting industry?
Visit ATC for program details, or to speak with an advisor today!