Best Practice in the Paint Shop

Any workplace where spraying jobs take place are exposed to high levels of solvents in the atmosphere. For that reason, controlling the risks associated with pollutants and dust in the air is of paramount importance. Here is some useful information on best practice in this kind of environment:

Assess the area

The first important stage is to identify and assess the risks according to your unique business environment. Solvent risk varies depending on which is being used. Low solvent spraying for short periods in a large, ventilated area is lower risk than high solvent spraying in an enclosed space. If in doubt, always seek the advice of a specialist.

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Control any risks

Once the risks are identified, follow the necessary precautions for those risks. Again, specialist help is available if in doubt about the right precautions needed for your risk level.

General precautions include using the right type of spraying equipment. Traditional methods include the use of compressed air to atomise paint, which produces a great deal of overspray that can travel significant distance. A low-pressure spray gun with high-volume could be a solution, for example.

Good ventilation is a must, with mechanical ventilation if natural is not adequate. Extracted air must also be discharged in a safe manner and location. For Spray Booth Filters, visit 

It’s important to restrict the area to only those employees who need to be there. Remember when working outside that wind speed can cause spray and particulate matter to travel over long distances.

Always ensure access to the correct Respiratory Protective Equipment is available. The amount of protection required will vary depending on the risk factors but could include breathing apparatus with continual air flow, powered respirators with visor and filter, or half-face mask respirator with filter.

Work techniques are important in limiting the amount of overspray that occurs. Ensure skills and procedures for best practice are employed on a daily basis.

Confined spaces can result in dangerous levels of solvent vapours building up. If the work area is a confined space, extra care with precautions will be required.  A build-up of vapours is also a fire and explosion risk, which will need further specialist precaution measures.


Such an environment requires strong supervision to ensure that all Respiratory Protective Equipment is worn correctly and at the right times. Tight-fitting respiratory equipment also needs to be face-fit tested to ensure there are no leaks or gaps.

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Monitoring the area where the spraying occurs is also important to ensure you precautions are working effectively. Think about what you are going to measure and how you will use the information.


When working with solvents, signs of damage to health can include narcotic-type effects such as lethargy, dizziness, nausea and headache. Extreme exposure in high amounts can even cause death, so it’s essential to put the right controls in place and ensure they are properly maintained by everyone.


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