Paint factory safety

It is important as a paint manufacturer that you comply with the safety legislation to ensure that your factory staff have a safe working environment. This article will be exploring paint safety guidelines in a manufacturing environment, as well as ensuring a safe working environment for its employees.

Safety gear will vary depending on the operational requirements and environment to which your employees are exposed. “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to apparel and other equipment, which support a company’s endeavour to create a safe working environment as well as comply with the legislative requirements in South Africa. PPE products are used as a tool to prevent and mitigate accidents, which may cause injury or fatalities,” says Johan Dippenaar from Health and Safety Executive.


  • Gloves: Appropriate gloves would act as protection when dealing with the different machines or products that may potentially harm the users’ hands
  • Safety glasses: Safety glasses area prerequisite because eyes will be exposed to different chemicals and even small solid particles that can cause serious damage to the eyes
  • Dust mask: Is to filter all the unhealthy chemicals that will be a potential danger to the chest or even the lungs
  • Sensible shoes with good grip: Good shoes will help to prevent any slippage which might lead to serious injury.

One company that can supply this safety equipment is Vikayen Suppliers. The company has all the proper gear, which can help increase the safety of your employees and make your working environment compliant to the Enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant.

Vikayen Suppliers offer the following safety equipment:

High quality North Beluga contisuit:

This safety wear comes in different colours. It consists of a jacket and pants and will help protect your employee’s skin. All seams of the jacket are safety stitched. The trousers have half-elasticised waistbands. All facial needlework is double stitched and all protective clothing features aluminium zips. For the eyes, Vikayen Suppliers offers the North Supreme Spectacle with a clear lens.

Respiratory protection gear:

Vikayen Suppliers offers the North single half mask. This particular piece of equipment consists PVC rubber half mask with single cartridge holders. Comfortable low breathing resistance and easy fit headgear.


Even with the best quality protective equipment, companies need to educate their employees that safety is mandatory and that they must consistently wear safety gear. How can companies achieve this? Raisin Pillai, Director, Vikayen Suppliers says, “Companies need to train their equipment on a consistent basis. If PPE is not properly maintained, it will not last long, thus not protecting the wearer. Poorly maintained equipment can be a greater hazard. For example glasses that are dirty create visibility problems, chemical gloves with pin holes will allow chemicals to touch the workers skin and shoes that are broken or worn out become a tripping hazard.” “Before each use, workers need to inspect their equipment for any issues or problems. Never think that your PPE will last forever, even if it seems to still be in a workable condition. Regular training with employees is recommended as workers need to be reminded about their safety as often as possible,” he explains. Even with all the prescribed safety gear, a company will always be subject to some kind of risk. Neil Freemantle, from SafeCo who specialises in production and procurement says placing systems, protocols or preventions in place off er a solution to stop accidents from happening. “But we all know accidents can happen and that is where PPE comes into play. It acts as the backup or fail safe should something go wrong,” he advised.


Companies need to ensure that their business has proper comprehensive risk cover. There are many companies off ering risk cover. One such company is AIG. One of their options is considered to be well suited to any type of factory. This product is designed to help employers meet the ever demanding and highly competitive employee market by providing comprehensive personal accident insurance beyond the minimal contractual obligations of Workers’ Compensation and General Liability cover.


  • Complementing a General Liability policy by covering injuries under a separate accident policy
  • Providing medical benefits to insured members who are injured in a covered accident
  • Paying benefits regardless of fault
  • Coverage includes the commute between home and place of service, a benefit not typically found in many General liability or Workers’ Compensation programmes.

The more knowledge or experience companies have about the use of a certain product, the lower the risk factor to itself and its employees. With training offered the workers must be made aware of all the potential dangers and risk involved within the environment they are exposed to. This will foster a culture of working with caution and minimise any unnecessary negligence that could cause an accident. This caution should also include activities such as disposal of wastes and material. Such training would be useful for employees.


Even with the training given to employees their health comes first and should be regularly monitored. Health authorities recommend that any employee that is constantly exposed to isocyanine is at risk of getting diseases, therefore, their health should be monitored. It might vary from company to company how they want to implement this, but one of the ways is to take urine samples of those that are exposed to isocyanate, this can be done monthly or on a quarterly basis depending on how the company wants to do it. Please check legislation regarding taking urine samples.



Forklift training should be a top priority. Today, forklifts are used in every factory to save time while moving products. One company focused on the effective training in the use of forklifts is Flame Proof Rentals (FLP). “FLP train drivers to operate flameproof equipment on delivery of a new or rental forklift but it is the paint company that must take on the responsibility of training personnel to understand the risks,” says Herbert Chikuni, General Manager, FLP.

Herbert Chikuni answered these important questions on behalf of Coatings SA:

How does your company contribute to paint safety?

Our company, Flame Proof Rentals, train the drivers in the operation of the flameproof equipment upon delivery of a new or rental forklift. The paint company must take on the responsibility of training personnel to understand the risks involved when operating flameproof equipment. This is the responsibility of the company’s safety officer. Unfortunately, safety officers generally know little or nothing about what the requirements are and what needs to change. Our contribution is to convert equipment to make it safe and compliant for intended application.
Once the equipment arrives onsite there is absolutely no obligation in law to ensure that companies keep the equipment compliant by the end user. If on the other hand the flameproof equipment is rented, it is the rental company’s responsibility to keep the equipment in a compliant condition at all times. There are many South African paint and chemical companies that do not comply with legislation. They would rather run the risk of utilising non-compliant machinery. Ensuring paint safety comes at a sizable cost that many companies would rather evade.

What are the key aspects for factory managers to consider?

They are generally responsible in the case of an incident so they should insist on compliance by the company and ensure they are familiar with what the legislation requirements are. Also they should ensure that the operator and drivers are trained sufficiently for their requirements. They also need to understand the risks involved in the Paint flammable chemical workplace.

How do forklifts from FLP contribute to the safety in a paint manufacturing plant?

We as FLP can make known the advantages that our product possesses, but cannot enforce the use of our forklift on companies, it is the Department Of Labour’s (DOL) responsibility to enforce compliant machinery. Mobile equipment that is battery or diesel powered and operating in a flammable paint storage area or manufacturing environment must be fit for the intended purpose. SA National Standard (SANS) has codes of practice, which are disregarded by many companies. Further, forklift trucks are not the only risk, other risks include scissor lifts, floor scrubbers or sweepers and boom lifts. Since they are also battery electric powered, factories should not ignore their potential hazard. As long as this equipment is complaint, it serves a very significant purpose in the paint industry.

Does the company offer training?

Yes, we offer training, but most companies will not want us to train drivers or health and safety personnel as this will expose the risks, which could force company compliance and that is an expense that most flammable paint manufacturing companies would rather avoid. They have the perception that we are promoting safety in the workplace to grow our businesses and not to further awareness. Because of that, we received such negative responses to awareness training we put training on the back burner – especially when we got the response that they are compliant, ‘the fire department approved everything’ – they are using what the fire department says as an evasion tactic as opposed to what should be done there is no point in offering training. So it rests with the paint manufactures to enforce compliance and enforce training.

Anything else?

Yes of course, we could expose various paint manufacturers who do not comply and hide behind the fire department. Unfortunately, these companies prioritise profit over safety in the workplace and if they have a compliant forklift, they most likely only have one. Thus, if the DOL arrives or the company’s audit is done they can show the compliant truck as the only truck used in hazardous areas, which is in most cases is not true. Most trucks go into the hazardous areas. Colour zoned forklift trucks should be painted a specific colour with appropriate marking so they are immediately recognised as zoned trucks with the area classification indicated, gas group and temperature class also visibly indicated. New requirements for flame proof materials handling equipment will come into effect November 2017 and this information can be made available on request.


In spite of all the safety checks that are conducted in the workplace emergencies can still occur. All employees need knowledge and well allocated resources in case such a catastrophe occurs. These measures need to be taken even before there is a threat of a fire, explosion or any similar incident. Places or rooms where paint, thinners or other flammable solvents are stored – these rooms need to be well ventilated. Clearly marked signs to warn employees of risks. Factories need to have proficient fire equipment on-hand
in case a fire does break out. You can get this equipment from Chubb.

What happens if there is a fire?

Your employees need to be trained to do the following: If a fire involving paint does occur, the first thing that can be done is to try extinguishing it with foam or powder. If the paint goes into an eye, wash it immediately with water and consult a doctor as soon as possible. If the paint splashes on skin, wash with water and soap and if skin colour starts to change in the affected area consult a doctor immediately. If you feel sick from inhalation of fumes contact a doctor urgently. Among the dangers of fire and explosion there is also a danger of employees inhaling unhealthy substances that can cause terrible harm to internal organs. That is where air filtration comes in. Air filters will filter a lot of dangerous and unwanted substances.

According to Industrial dust collector systems, this is why air filters are needed in a factory:

  • It reduces risk in terms of employees having a cleaner working environment
  • It increases productivity due to the clean air and employees not being sick all the time
  • It improves product quality Better employee morale.



Workplace safety is a priority especially in hazardous environments that may potentially harm employees. You need to ensure that all safety measures are taken in order to minimise harm and any sort of risk employees may be exposed to.