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Protecting Yourself while Spray Painting

Although ensuring that your workspace has proper ventilation will help to generally increase your safety and produce a better finish on your car, you also need to take care to directly shield your body. This will also protect the work from coming into contact with the natural skin oils of your hands, or the lint and dust from your clothing.

A regular half-mask respirator, even one with a robust filter, is not enough protection for working with modern urethane paints because of the isocyanates they contain. These potentially lethal chemicals can soak into the eyes as well as the lungs when airborne, and cause sickness or even death. Any mucous membrane will do, making them more than simply a respiratory hazard. Work is being undertaken to produce less dangerous paints, but it is best not risk exposure to the current products.

The surest way to protect against them is to wear a fresh air hood, which is hooked up to a small compressor in another room where clean air is available, or even outdoors upwind of the ventilation outlets. This blows pressurized air over your face behind a clear plastic face shield, thus giving you good air to breathe and keeping the paint droplets out of your eyes.

You should also wear a disposable painter’s suit, which keeps irritating paint off your skin and prevents garment debris from falling onto the paint surface, creating flaws. Rubber gloves are also a necessity, and the cuffs of all garments should be taped to keep paint out of your clothes.

Finally, you must ensure that there are no sources of flame or electrical sparks in the workspace, since paint vapor is very flammable and a pilot light or the starter of an electric pump motor could potentially trigger an explosion. The more paint vapor there is in the air the more unstable it becomes, until at a certain point, it will detonate with the smallest friction as a trigger. Making use of all these safety precautions is the best way to ensure that you will still be in a condition to finish your project by the end of it – and go on to create more notable paint jobs in the future.


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