Safety Guide To Using Aerosols In A Construction Project

Aerosols are used in a wide range of industries. They are practical and guarantee precise dosing without spillage. Aerosol sprays are primarily used in construction projects to apply paints and varnishes that provide a protective coating over wood.  

Aerosols dispense chemicals under pressure from a can in the form of mist and foam. These chemicals must be handled and stored properly because they are hazardous and highly flammable.  

Aerosols are usually handy and portable, making it easy for workers to be careless about their disposal. Cans that aren’t empty may be dented or pierced, resulting in explosions and pollution.  

That said, working with aerosols for a construction project requires extreme caution. Here are some safety recommendations for using them:

What To Wear When Handling Aerosols 

Construction workers often forget to wear protective gear and toss the canisters aside when they finish their tasks. Although jobs in the open air are less hazardous, it’s still best to wear goggles and gloves.   

Water-based paint is practically odor-free and doesn’t emit gasses. However, when using aerosols that smell strongly of solvents, like enamel, nitrocellulose, and lacquer paints, it’s safer to use masks or respirators. The same precautions are observed when working with silicon spray used for rust-proofing jobs.  

Inhaling these fumes, especially in a poorly ventilated area causes dizziness, headache, vomiting, and unconsciousness, and can even be fatal.   

Even mild-smelling acrylic line marking spray paint used as this marking guide for football fields, courts, and parking lots, requires the crew to exercise caution to avoid contact dermatitis and respiratory symptoms.    

Construction workers using aerosols that emit extremely fine mist, like foam-in-place insulation, should wear coveralls, preferably with a hood. This kind of insulation is expected to expand, harden, and is very sticky.  

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Just imagine the damage it could do to the lungs when inhaled! Instead of ordinary working gloves, experts suggest using surgical gloves taped to the sleeves so that chemical particles are kept out.   

Working Conditions  

Before spraying, ensure that those not wearing the proper protective clothing are outside the vicinity. If the job site is not adequately ventilated, especially when spraying insulation, consider using a powered purifying respirator (PAPR).  

Strictly speaking, everyone except the spraying crew should not be within the premises. Companies should curtail client visits on days when aerosol spraying is scheduled.   

Safety Measures To Observe When Using Aerosols   

Aerosols are under pressure, toxic, and often flammable. They need proper care during storage, use, and disposal because they can burst, leak, or catch fire. Other factors that impact safety are the ingredients of the aerosol, the kind of propellent used, the condition of the can, expiration, heat tolerance, and shelf-life.   

Exploding cans may burn workers and wound them with shrapnel bits. Following these can help keep the workplace safe:   

  1. Inspect the aerosol can and keep it intact to maintain its internal pressure. Aerosols are safe as long as the cans and the dispensing part are not damaged. Inspect the cans for dents, corrosion, puncture, and damaged valve, which cause depressurization.   
  2. Identify flammable and hazardous aerosols. Consider partially filled cans as hazardous waste. Know what qualities make them dangerous – what propellants and ingredients were used (e.g., LPG, cleaners, solvents, paints).    
  3. Store them away from extreme temperatures, sunlight, and corrosives in a dry place. The pressure within the can increase in proportion to the temperature. At 48.9°C, the cans may explode. Exposure to corrosives can weaken the can and damage it.   
  4. Store them upright with the lid on and caps secured to prevent leaks.   
  5. Determine if there are safer substitutes.   
  6. Return all damaged or inoperative aerosol cans for replacement to the supplier.   
  7. Try to empty the can contents with normal use so these can be recycled as scrap metal. Cans that have not been emptied should be marked before storing.   
  8. Store and use aerosols in a well-ventilated place.  
  9. Make sure that recently sprayed surfaces that have not completely dried are kept from high temperatures.  
  10. Wear the proper safety gear.  

Have a company policy on how to remove the remaining contents safely. If there is none, dispose of them by placing these in a well-labeled and closed container. Include in the label the type of hazardous material and when the can was first used. Keep a disposal or recycling log.  

Conclusion   

Aerosols have very important roles in a construction project. However, since the cans are pressurized and may have harmful content, users must be careful when storing, using, and disposing of them. Observing safety measures will prevent injury to the crew and damage to the workplace.  

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