How to stay safe when spraying paints and other coatings

Should you use breathing apparatus when spraying paint and other coatings?

Different types of spray paint and coatings require different levels of personal protection. The key piece of safety equipment you need is a face mask, whether that’s a disposable mask or breathing apparatus to protect from dust inhalation and overspray.

Think about the material you are spraying. Is it water-based paint? Is it a solvent? If it is a solvent-based paint, does it contain Isocyanates? At Spray Plant UK we have chosen to sell ranges of Drager and 3M respirators because of their reputation for quality.

Here are three levels of breathing apparatus and when you should use them:

1.       Disposable masks:

Disposable masks can be used to protect against dust and overspray from gases and vapours of organic compounds ie for most water-based paints. The Drager 1330 offers some of the best protection of a disposable mask on the market and is ideal for applications including wood staining, paint removal and sanding or grinding of stainless steel.

Benefits of Drager X-Plore 1330

  • The Drager X-Plore has a flexible nasal fit and includes a high seal around the nose.
  • The nose seal is also sweat absorbing.
  • VarioFLex headgear and Easy Strap means that the mask is easily adjusted for any head size, ensuring maximum comfort.
    The inner layer of the mask is hypoallergenic, so its easy on the skin.
    The CoolMax exhalation valve and the filter material allow for low breathing resistance and high filter performance.


3M 4255 series A2P3 protects you in the same environment as the Drager X-Plore but is often more popular with customers. This mask can be used for all water-based paints and is generally used by our painter & decorator customers.

Easy to use, no set up.

30-day disposable

Benefits of 3M 4255 series A2P3 half mask.

  • It comes with a resealable bag for easy storage.
  • The 4255 respirator is suitable for wearing for long periods of time in the day.
  • Disposable and ready to wear.
  • Uses innovative technology to reduce breathing resistance and heat build-up.

Click here to buy the disposable 3M 4255 series A2P3 half mask.

2.       Disposable half mask. Although the 3M 4279 series half mask ABEK1P3 is disposable, it provides protection not only against organic vapours but also in organic gases, acid gases plus ammonia so it's ideal for use on a site where you may be carrying out several spray tasks.

Benefits of 3M42779 series half mask ABEK1P3

  • Use it for most jobs (excluding where Isocyanates are in use) for flexibility on site
  • Soft textured face seal and well balanced to ensure comfortable and good fit during long periods of work.
  • Designed for better peripheral vision.
  • If you use the optional overspray guard it will prolong the life of the particulate filter.

You will need to change all disposable masks above after a month, or if there is damage to the face mask. Protection Factor on all is 20 WEL.

Click here to buy the 3M 4279 series half mask ABEK1P3

3.      Air-fed respirators. A battery operated or air-fed full mask is required when working with highly toxic, isocyanate material. These are materials which are typically found in paint containing higher solvent ratios.

Benefits of Honeywell Airvisor 2 MV Painter’s air-fed respirator kit

  • 3 stage breathing filter (separate item to be fitted onto your compressor to provide clean air to the mask)
  • Breathing quality airline with quick release coupling
  • Wide acetate visor provides wide field of vision and is chemical resistant, providing full eye protection. Visor screen covers can we used to prolong the life of the visor.
  • Provides full head and neck cover.
  • Required by HSE when dealing with high solvent-based paints or paints containing isocyanates.

Click here to buy the Honeywell Airvisor 2 MV Painter’s air-fed respirator kit

At Spray Plant UK we always advise that you check with material manufacturer if you’re not sure what chemicals are in the material you are spraying and always follow the manufacturers’ advice.

You’ll find lots of other safety equipment on our site but if you’re not sure where to find it or what PPE you might need, please ask our sales team about PPE when you’re purchasing equipment or spares so we can help you stay safe. You can also contact our sales team about specific health and safety training for your business.

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