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Working with coating powders - employees

How can exposure to coating powders affect my health?

Exposure to different coating powders may affect your health in different ways. Some of the health effects are:

Some components of coating powders can also cause long term health effects such asoccupational asthma. There are some curing agents that may damage genetic material,which could lead to cancer or result in impaired fertility (see Specialist Powders webpage).

Fig 1 - Worker with coating powder on face and overalls

Figure 1 - Worker with coating powder on face and overalls

How can coating powders get into my body?

What precautions should I take?

Ask your employer for details of the hazards of the particular coating powders you use, the precautions to take when you use them and the procedures to follow in an emergency. Make sure you follow them.

Read the supplier’s material safety data sheet and container labels and follow the advice on them. Ask your employer for clarification if you need to.

Controlling dust

Dust can easily be taken into your lungs when it becomes airborne eg when spraying powders and during cleaning activities. You should avoid breathing in the dust and also prevent skin contact. Below is a list of precautions to take to minimise your potential exposure.

Spraying

Figure 2 Worker leaning too far into spray booth

Figure 2 - Worker leaning too far into spray booth

Figure 3 Worker correctly standing outside booth to spray

Figure 3 - Worker correctly standing outside booth to spray

Figure 4 Workers incorrectly spraying towards one another

Figure 4 - Workers incorrectly spraying towards one another

Equipment

Make sure your spray gun is set up correctly. Ask your employer or supervisor for information.

Cleaning spray booths

If possible, stand outside the spray booth to clean it. Use equipment with long handles to enable you to reach inside.

Figure 5 - Worker cleaning spray booth from inside

Figure 5 - Worker cleaning spray booth from inside

Where access is unavoidable (eg for colour changes and where the booth design makes the use of long handled tools impractical) for maintenance or non-routine cleaning purposes, you must wear suitable coveralls, gloves and a dust mask or respirator to prevent you breathing in the dust.

Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

Skin contact

Other precautions

What should I do if I think my health might be affected?

If you believe that your health is being affected through work with coating powders, or if you are concerned that adequate precautions are not being taken, you should approach your manager. You may do this through your supervisor or safety representative. Your employer may also arrange health surveillance at your workplace which you should attend.

If you visit your doctor with either skin or chest problems, tell your doctor about the substances that you are working with and refer them to this information.

For more information see the other webpages here

Updated: 2015-09-10