Health & Safety

Providing health and safety precautions for paint products is a legal requirement and forms a specific section on our labels. However, the wording is laid down by law and is often difficult to understand. This section is intended to help you interpret and understand the symbols and phrases you will find in our literature and on our product labels. We’ve also included some further information to make applying paint a safer job.

Before starting work always read the label. Each can may display a number of warning symbols and written warning phrases which will quickly indicate those areas where particular care should be taken. Other general safety precautions are detailed below and will help should any problem occur while using our paints.

Personal health

Avoid ingestion/inhalation

Avoid ingestion

Food and drink should not be prepared or consumed in areas where paint is stored or is being used. In cases of accidental paint ingestion seek immediate medical attention. Keep the patient at rest, do NOT induce vomiting.

Avoid inhalation

The inhalation of solvent vapor from paint, or dust from sanding, can be reduced by the provision of adequate ventilation or extraction. If this is not sufficient, or if specifically stated on the label, suitable respiratory protection should be used. Wear a cartridge type respirator when abrading old antifoulings – never burn off or dry-sand antifoulings as this may create harmful fumes or dust. In badly ventilated areas wear an air-fed hood or cartridge respirator with an organic vapor filter. Solvent fumes are heavier than air. Breathing these fumes can make you dizzy, feel drunk and headachy and could even result in collapse. Read the label carefully and ensure that the recommended protection is worn. Spray painting creates additional health hazards. Spray mists should not, under any circumstances, be inhaled. Read the label carefully and ensure recommended protection is worn; generally an air-fed hood is the best protection as it provides a fresh air feed to the user.

Avoid eye contact

Eye protection should be used during paint application and when there is any risk of paint splashing on the face. Safety glasses or goggles are inexpensive, available from many DIY stores, and are well worth wearing. Use eyewear that complies with ANSIZ871-1989 Standard. If material does contaminate the eye, it is recommended that the eye is flushed with clean fresh water for at least 15 minutes, holding the eyelids apart, and medical attention sought.

Avoid skin contact

Skin irritation can occur from contact with paint products. You should, therefore, always wear protective gloves and protective clothing when applying or mixing any paint products. Overalls, which cover the body, arms and legs, should be worn. Skin cream, of a non-greasy barrier type, may be used on the face. Do NOT use petroleum jelly as this can help the absorption of paint into the body. Remove rings and watch straps before commencing work, as these can trap paint particles next to the skin. Remove any paint that does get onto the skin by washing with warm water and soap or an approved skin cleanser. After washing, apply a skin conditioner. Never use solvent or thinners to clean the skin.

Risk of fire or explosion

Most paints contain organic solvents – some of which evaporate into the air upon opening the container. Any dangers can be reduced if a few simple precautions are taken:

  • Avoid open flames where paint is being stored, opened or applied
  • Do not smoke
  • Store paint in a well-ventilated, dry place away from sources of heat and direct sunlight
  • Keep the can tightly closed
  • Avoid sparks from metals, electrical appliances being switched on and off, or faulty electrical connections
  • Do not leave paint soaked rags lying around, in the pockets of overalls or in waste bins. Some types of paint can dry out and auto-ignite.