Take a look around you and it is difficult to find a single object that is untouched from paints and
coatings. From a simple pen to the mammoth machineries that you will get to see in factories, all
of them have some or the other type of paint coated on them. Unknowingly, paint and the
hazardous substances that it is composed of, have become an inevitable part of human life. All
these painted items in our close vicinity seem to be harmless to us but the case is absolutely the
opposite for all those who work in the factories producing paint. The one substance that makes
the object around us pretty is indeed posing great threat to the lives of the makers of this
The hazardous nature of paint
On studying the composition of paint closely, you will find a lot of chemical substances that pose
a great threat to the lives of those who come in direct contact of the manufacturing process.
This is also the reason why a lot of companies who are careful about their employees advocate
the use of safety measures to ensure the health of its employees.
Talking about the harmful components of paint, volatile organic compounds or VOCs top the
list. These chemicals are generally present in the solvents used to dilute the paints. VOCs are majorly related to the organic solvent syndrome but the proofs are not yet very evident. These
compounds cause serious health problems like asthma, and other respiratory problems. VOCs
can be inhaled easily during the manufacturing process and get in contact with the respiratory
tract, thereafter damaging the entire body slowly.
Another component in paints that is equally hazardous to VOCs is the presence of heavy metals
like lead, cadmium, oxides like mercuric oxides and chromium pigments. The health risks that
these components pose are at times easily detected but they also remain dormant for a long
time, making the problem even more chronic. Lead and mercury specifically pose serious threat
to the mental health of children and also to limbs, human foetus and kidneys. They also lead to
skin and intestinal ulcers, and different kinds of cancers.
The best way to keep this problem in check is regular testing and analysis of the paint that is
manufactured in the factory. Various firms like the Paint Inspection Ltd provide services like
paint sampling which will give you a detailed analysis of the component levels in the paint and
how hazardous they can prove to be.
Recommendations for safety of the employees
Many researches have been made that have confirmed the presence of various hazardous
chemicals in painting substances. Studies have recommended various preventive measures
that can help in reducing the harmful effect of these chemicals on the employees.
Listed below are a few of such recommendations for the benefit of people working in the paint
● Making the workers understand the importance of periodic medical examination to
ensure their health and to be aware of any health issues. Companies should sponsor
such medical endeavours so that the workers are not worried about the financial aspect.
● Efficient training should be given to workers dealing with solvents to make them aware of
their safety measures.
● In case of any emergency, workers should be able to know how to use first aid and that
there should be emergency eyewash stations and full body showers installed in a good
number in the workplace, especially where the solvents are used. First aid training
should be provided positively.
● Emphasis should be laid on good hygiene practices. Proper monitoring should be done
so that no harmful substances are leaked or pollute the place.
● The companies must consider the used of water based paints instead of solvent based
paints to ensure safety of the workers.