Construction solvents: Spraying

Spraying products that contain solvents such as glues, paints and paint strippers can produce very high levels of airborne exposure to solvents.

What you should know

Solvents can produce narcotic effects like dizziness and tiredness. High concentrations increase the severity of these effects. Unconsciousness and death can even occur. This means it is very important to have the right controls in place and to make sure they are properly used. This page tells you how to control this risk and why. You also need to be aware of the general information on construction solvents.

What you must do

Follow the Assess, Control and Review model. Pay particular attention to the following things:


Identify and assess: The risks from spraying solvent containing materials vary. Risks can be reduced by choosing other methods of application, such as brushes/rollers to apply paint or using spatulas to apply glues. You need to consider the factors outlined in the general information on solvents . You are generally at lower risk if you are spraying low solvent products for short periods in an open / well-ventilated space. Spraying tasks involving high solvent products, especially in poorly ventilated work areas, can produce very high airborne exposure to solvents. You are particularly at risk if spraying highly volatile solvents Dichloromethane (DCM) in small / enclosed spaces. Seek specialist help if you are unsure.


Follow the precautions for controlling general solvent risks . In addition, you should also consider the issues below. These are guidelines only. The range of solvent containing products available means that you must decide on the specific controls you need based upon your assessment of the risks. Take specialist help if you unsure about this.

These are examples only. You must get the correct RPE for the work you are doing. Check with your supplier if you are unsure.


Supervise: Ensure equipment is properly used and RPE is worn correctly. Anyone using tight fitting RPE also needs to be clean-shaven and face-fit tested.

Maintain: Make sure all the controls are properly maintained.

Monitor: You are likely to need exposure monitoring where the risk is high to ensure your controls are working properly. Be clear about what you are going to measure and how you will use the information.

Updated 2022-02-10