Painting and coating workers typically work indoors and may be exposed to dangerous fumes from paint and coating solutions. Although painting usually is done in special ventilated booths, operators typically wear masks or respirators that cover their noses and mouths, even in such booths. In addition, Federal legislation has led to a decrease in workers’ exposure to hazardous chemicals by regulating emissions of volatile organic compounds and other hazardous air pollutants. This legislation also has led to the increasing use of more sophisticated paint booths and fresh-air systems that provide a safer work environment.
Operators have to stand for long periods, and when using a spray gun, they may have to bend, stoop, or crouch in uncomfortable positions to reach different parts of the article. Most operators work a normal 40-hour week, but self-employed automotive painters sometimes work more than 50 hours a week, depending on the number of vehicles customers want repainted.