As Kiwis, we’re all about that do-it-yourself life. We just love to have a crack at things. Home improvement projects especially. Whether it’s replacing old decking, home-demo or painting exteriors, everyone seems willing to give it a go. Here at Westend painters, we think that’s awesome. But if you are going to give it ago painting either the interior or exterior of the house. It’s important you are aware of all the potential safety hazards.
And no… (We’re not just talking about falling off a ladder).
We know that many of these household projects are a source of pride and enjoyment for Auckland homeowners. Sometimes it can take a few tries to get the job done just right… but it can take one mistake to create hazards to yourself and your family. Keep reading for our top 6 hazards in the workplace and how to combat them.
We all know it’s a good idea to assess and address the risks before you begin any painting project. But let’s be honest we often just want to ‘get on with the job’. The last thing you want is to expose yourself and your family to harmful substances or dangerous situations that cause serious injuries or ongoing issues.
Here is our rundown on six of the most common hazards, when painting your Auckland property.
- Ladders and heights
We’ll start with the obvious… Working at heights. Whether you’re right up a ladder, or just slightly off the ground – painting at heights is an activity that should always be undertaken with care. An attractive paint job will be of little comfort to you if you’re stuck in hospital unable to work (or move) after falling off a ladder or slipping off the roof. When working with ladders, we recommend following the ACC ladder safety injury prevention guide.
If you are working on a roof we recommend having a read of the Work Safe guide for working on roofs.
- Lead paint
If your Auckland home was built before 1970 lead-based paint may have been used. We highly recommend doing (or getting) lead-based paint test prior to any sanding or repainting. Lead is a toxic substance which can cause ongoing health issues with repeated exposure. The dust resulting from sanding or grinding of lead based paints can be easily inhaled or swallowed and may lead to poisoning. Lead poisoning is particularly harmful to children or pregnant women. So if you have a young family, or are thinking about starting one, definitely get a professional in to test your house for remnants or lead-based paints. It’s important to work with and remove lead paint properly. Have a look here to see our full guide about working with lead based paints.
If this sounds like something way out of your comfort zone – we are certified (by master painters) to remove lead based paint from your home.
- Paint in eyes
Eye injuries that may seem minor can cause permanent damage. Paint flakes, dust or fumes can cause irritation (or potentially blindness) in your or your families eyes if you don’t create a safe painting environment. Wearing safety goggles (or sunglasses) will help prevent flakes or dust from getting in your eyes. Keep your family’s eyes safe by installing safety barriers or just keeping doors closed, so your kids can’t get in – but keep the windows open to allow the fumes to disperse.
Watch out for eye contact with:
Fumes – corrosive, irritant
Dusts – organic, chemical, abrasive, corrosive
- Incorrect painting technique – resulting in back pain
When undertaking a DIY paint job, whether it be interior or exterior you are bound to get sore muscles – as you do with any muscles that get used infrequently. Sore arms, shoulders and legs are to be expected, the bigger worry is lingering long term back pain. Before undergoing a painting project check out a few Youtube videos on the correct painting technique. Once you are painting make sure to work in short intervals – giving your body time to rest. Spending a little more time researching correct techniques will save you a lot of pain later.
If you do have any pain (resulting from household painting or other DIY jobs) we recommend checking out this great video for some simple yoga poses to relieve back pain.
- Inhaling fumes
Fumes from oil based paints can be particularly harmful and can irritate your eyes, nose, or throat. Usually, this irritation should subside when you get some fresh air.
Most paints have some level of VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds). Waterbased paints typically contain a very low level of VOC, whilst solvent paints contain more.
Short-term side effects from inhaling VOCs can include:
Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat, headaches, feeling dizzy or light-headed, nausea or trouble breathing.
If you feel any of the above symptoms take a break from painting immediately.
Think about keeping your painting space well ventilated. Do this by keeping windows open or using an extractor fan to help eliminate the chances of inhaling fumes. Investing in a mask and goggles would also be a smart move.
A lot of these things may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at some of the horror stories we hear. If you want to give a go at sprucing up your kitchen yourself, and the result isn’t as great as you hoped – it can always be redone. Injuries or illnesses resulting from bad preparation can be a lot harder to reverse.
Take your time, be aware of the risks and stay safe when painting at home. If you live in the Auckland area and want us to come by and give you a free painting consult – we are more than happy to do so.
Westend Painters are professionals when it comes to; repaints, exterior painting, interior painting and lead paint removal. We’re your number 1 choice when it comes to all things House Painting in Auckland.
Contact us now to see how our team can help you achieve your Auckland house painting dreams.