Another Coat of Paint, Please
Paint Safety Tips for Not For Profits
Recently, several Assurance employees volunteered through the company's charity program – Assurance Caring Together (ACT) – for an organization called Special Spaces. Special Spaces is a nonprofit organization that provides dream bedroom makeovers to children with disabilities and critical illnesses.
One of the volunteer tasks was to paint the child's bedroom. The area dedicated to paint mixing is a more dangerous place than you might expect because of all the toxic chemicals. Luckily, our volunteers worked closely with Special Spaces to minimize risk and exposure. If your not for profit has volunteers that will be painting, ensure these four safety precautions are being followed:
1. Put a Lid on It
Not only is an open container of paint or solvent a waste of money, it also contaminates the air. By putting a lid on it, your employees and volunteers will keep harmful vapors out of the clean air. You'll also save materials by not allowing expensive paints and coatings to evaporate or become contaminated by air exposure.
2. Wear a Respirator
Vapor-generating materials and equipment permeate most paint mixing rooms. Despite this, wearing a respirator will decrease the number of harmful vapors staff and volunteers breathe in from paints and solvents. When mixing paint, always inform others to wear an air-purifying respirator with an organic vapor cartridge. Some other things to consider:
- Make sure the respirator forms a tight seal on the face. Males should be clean-shaven where the mask touches the face for optimal protection.
- Change the cartridge on a regular basis, as outlined by the manufacturer.
3. Cover Up
Skin and eyes also need protection from hazardous paint materials. Many chemicals in coatings and solvents are not only strong irritants, they can also pass through the skin and can damage internal organs. To avoid unnecessary problems, be aware of the variety of chemicals used in the mixing room, and wear chemical-resistant gloves and a paint suit that offers adequate protection.
Be sure to also consider:
- Wearing nitrile or butyl rubber gloves (not latex) to protect the skin from chemicals.
- Following the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding when to change your gloves to ensure you're receiving optimal protection against chemicals. Also, if you notice a tear or puncture in your gloves, discard them right away.
- Wearing a full face-piece respirator to protect your eyes. If you're wearing a half-mask respirator, goggles or a face shield will provide adequate eye protection as well.
4. Reduce Waste
When you reduce waste, you reduce costs while helping the environment. Therefore, mix only the amount of paints and coatings that you need. Also, store and reuse left-over primers and basecoats to avoid unnecessary waste.
Be sure to implement proper protection and safety practices with staff and volunteers when painting. These tips may seem small, but they will make a big difference!
Our not for profit risk management experts are ready to answer all your questions. Contact us!
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