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Solvent-based product safety

New Jersey painters often work with a variety of solvents while they're performing their job duties. If you've been involved in this kind of work for several years, then you probably know the basics of staying safe while using solvents, and you may have learned some of those basics the hard way.

Solvent-based paints, solvent-based thinners and primers, paint strippers and white spirit are classified as organic-based solvents. These chemicals are dangerous to human health. As such, workers using these solvents need to take special care whenever they are working with the substances. They also need to take care when storing these substances.

Here are some important suggestions for workers to stay safe around solvents:

-- Read labels: Take a look at the labels on solvents to make sure you know their risks.

-- Keep flames away: Solvents can catch flame easily. As such, workers should not expose solvents to any kind of heat source, and they should not expose them to open flames or lit cigarettes.

-- Keep solvents in a cool place: Also make sure that, in addition to staying cool, solvents are in a place with good ventilation.

-- Keep children and pets away: Solvents must be stored in a safe place where pets and children cannot access them.

-- Dispose of rags appropriately: When a rag is soaked in solvents, keep in mind that the rag will now be flammable. As such, if the rag has become wet with an oil-based compound, be sure to let the rag dry completely, or it could be in danger of spontaneous combustion.

-- Ventilate: Always ventilate any work area that involves painting or the use of solvents.

-- Use protective wear: Protective equipment is essential whenever using solvent-based paint products.

-- Consider water-based paints: Water-based paints are a great way to prevent solvent-related paint illness.

Workers injured by solvent-based products can seek workers' compensation benefits in most cases. Workers' compensation benefits, if successfully secured by the worker, will pay for the injured worker's medical care and other benefits.

Source: Paint Quality Institute, "Safety tips for painting," accessed Feb. 24, 2017

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