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Spray painting and powder coating

Hazard, Risk and Remedy information adapted from Safe Work Australia material. Definition of Spray Painting and Powder Coating may not represent a legal definition.

Powder coating is a process by which electrostatically charged powder is applied onto an earthed object. Spray painting, including electrostatic spray painting, is a process by which liquid paint is applied under pressure to an object. Spray painting may be carried out by hand or automatically. There are several methods used to atomise the paint for spraying:

  • Using a conventional air compressor – air is driven across the mouth of a small outlet under pressure to draw liquid paint out of the container and produce an air-paint mist from the nozzle of the spray-gun
  • Airless spray painting – the paint container is pressurised pushing the paint to the nozzle where it is atomised by the spray gun, or
  • Electrostatic spray painting – an electric pump drives the electrostatically charged liquid in general.

Substances viewed as hazardous with spray painting are paints, solvents, lead, powders, lacquers, paint removers, resins, adhesives, degreasers, surface preparation products, rust converters, rust removers and dust.

Many hazards include but aren't limited to; chemical exposure, fire and explosions, confined spaces, machinery and equipment, working at heights, manual tasks, electricity or static electricity, heat or high humidity and noise.


Numerous risks exist for workers involved in spray painting and powder coating activities due to the afore-mentioned hazards, these include but aren't limited to; dermatitis, respiratory illnesses, cancer, chemical burns and fatalities resulting from exposure to projectiles from an explosion, injuries from moving parts of machinery, electric shock, heat exposure and hearing damage amongst many more.


The WHS Regulations require a person conducting a business or undertaking to 'manage risks' associated with specific hazards, including noise, hazardous chemicals, plant and electricity. It is important when considering undertaking spray painting or powder coating work to perform a targeted hazard identification and risk assessment via an approved process (see tools below). It's best this is done in conjunction with professional regulatory and legal advice.


Information SourceContents
Code of Practice - How to Manage Work Health and Safety RisksThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety.
Code of Practice - Spray Painting and Powder CoatingThis code provides practical guidance for persons who have duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to manage risks to health and safety involving spray painting and powder coating
Code of Practice - Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the WorkplaceSpecific risk management strategy for focusing on risks associated with hazardous chemicals
UK Health & Safety Executive - Controlling exposure to coating powders

UK Health & Safety Executive - Safety in motor vehicle repair

UK Health & Safety Executive - Guidance on working with 2-pack isocyanate paints

General information on managing risks associated with spray painting and powder coating


Information sourceWhat it contains
Incident notification - Part 3, Section 35 to 37 of the Work, Health and Safety Act 2011The legislative requirements for incident notification to Comcare
Comcare - Guide to incident notificationHelps you decide whether you need to notify Comcare of an injury, illness or dangerous incident under the WHS Act
Comcare – Guide to lead risk work notificationsA guide on obligations for notifying lead-risk work for agencies and licensees governed under Commonwealth WHS legislation
Page last updated: 31 Mar 2016