Print Posted on 08/05/2017

DIY painting safety guide

DIY painting safety guide

If you have some painting to do at home and have decided to do it yourself rather than hire a professional painter, it’s important to complete the job safely to ensure you do not harm yourself or others in the process.

Here’s our top five things to keep in mind when painting:

  • Ventilation – Conventional paints contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can cause nausea, dizziness and headaches as well as other long-term health issues. If you are painting indoors, ensure the room you are painting has adequate ventilation so you are not constantly breathing in paint fumes. Keep all windows and doors open while painting, and put a fan in the doorway to draw in fresh air from outside of the room. You can also choose a low VOC or eco-friendly paint – just make sure to read the label properly when purchasing.
  • Lead – if you are removing old paint before repainting, you need to ensure the original paint does not contain lead. This is much more likely in older homes. To be sure, you can get  flake of the old paint tested.
  • Spray paint – if you are spray painting rather than brush painting, it is recommended to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the fumes, as well as to cover up as much of your skin as possible. Short term health effects that spray painting can cause are irritation contact dermatitis, burns to the skin and eyes, vomiting and diarrhoea, irritation to the nose, throat and lungs, headaches, dizziness, nausea and fatigue.
  •  Obstacles and hazards – if you are painting cornices or the ceiling, you are most likely going to be using a ladder so it is important to ensure you use it correctly to ensure your safety and the safety of others who may be using it. If you are painting in a house with children in it, make sure you do not leave open paint containers in areas that are accessible to them.
  • Disposing of leftover paint – if you are using a water-based paint, you can set the paint by pouring it into a plastic container filled with paper scraps or kitty litter. Let it dry and then place in your general waste bin. Solvent-based paints are considered hazardous waste and need to be disposed of according to your local council’s laws – contact them for further information. NEVER pour paint down the sink, down storm drains or on the ground.