COSHH and vehicle spray painters - key messages

Substances hazardous to health in vehicle spray painting include:

  • paints, lacquers and under-seals.

Other substances hazardous to health in motor vehicle repair include:

  • fuels, brake fluids and lubricants, including waste oil;
  • fumes and gases from welding and cutting;
  • dusts from abrasive wheels, etc;
  • degreasing fluids, cleaning products, including strong hand cleaners;
  • adhesives and fillers;
  • battery acid.

Example: Spray painting with isocyanate-based two-pack top coat

Isocyanate can cause asthma. You must reduce exposure to isocyanate as far below the WEL of 0.02 mg/m3 (8 hours) and 0.07 mg/m3 (15 minutes) as reasonably practicable. You normally need to use health surveillance.

Isocyanate can also cause dermatitis.

Control measures include:

  • enclosed, extracted spray booth marked with its clearance time;
  • air-line respiratory protective equipment;
  • other personal protective equipment;
  • health surveillance for asthma and skin checks.

Help in identifying the right controls is on the MVR COSHH essentials web page. Control information for isocyanate appears in:

Visit the HSE MVR website for more information.


Your employer provides equipment to protect your health, such as:

  • spray booth for all paint spraying (including gun washings);
  • personal protective equipment.

You have a duty to use these properly and co-operate with any monitoring and health surveillance.

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