Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

In the film, “Saturday Night Fever,” (1977), John Travolta plays Tony Mareno. A “nineteen, almost twenty year old,” he knows that he wants to be something. But he tells Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) that he just doesn’t know what.

 

WHAT TONY DOES KNOW:

 

  1. He wants to become an adult, and build a future for himself.
  2. He wants to make his own decisions about his own life.
  3. He wants the responsibility of a regular job.
  4. He wants to have fun with his friends, but within the law and not at the expense of anyone else’s life.
  5. He wants to be respected and trusted much more than he wants to be liked.
  6. He wants to be loved for the right reasons.
  7. And, he wants his dance partner and himself to win that competition’s first prize of $200 because they really are the best.

 

Through every situation, Tony works to maintain a set of values that even he does not yet know how deeply rooted they are within himself.

 

At the time of the movie’s release, beginning painters, under age 21, had the same types of goals and aspirations as young Tony. (And young Travolta, for that matter.) Most painters that I met in the late 1970s didn’t seem to think much about working hard to achieve respect, trust and success. They worked hard because that was what adults were supposed to do. That’s what they did to get the paint job done – on time, within budget, and satisfactorily.

 

In the 1980s, the climate started to change. I met and worked around more painters that shared my father’s view of the trade – and his set of standards. Painting and decorating was a profession, not just a job. With above-average hourly wages and great benefits, if you were a union painter.

 

More painters were approaching every aspect of the painting job seriously. And, with intent and focus.

 

Beyond painting trade, eg. IBPAT/IUPAT, journey-level certifications, they pursued goals and aspirations that were forward-thinking. They sought out training workshops and courses that led to specialized certifications. Some completed two-year or four-year college degrees in chemistry, construction management, construction/materials/civil engineering, business administration, etc. Many looked toward working for themselves: starting their own painting contracting companies.

 

They worked a lot of overtime to save for business start-up costs.

. Licenses, insurances, permits

. Paintshop space, business phone number and address

. Yellow Pages advertising; business cards, stationery, customer estimate sheets, contract forms

. Enough tools and equipment to take on jobs.

. Start-up capital, business bank account and credit card, account at nearest, major paint store (s).

 

Many of these painters wanted to build a solid future in the painting trade. And, they were willing to do whatever was necessary to start out, and stay, on the right path.

 

Some of these painters have done well as contractors. As entrepreneurs. Some of their one-man shops have grown into top contracting firms in their respective area, state and even region. Some keep thirty-to-fifty or more craftspersons busy full-time, year-round. Plus shop people, office staff, and part-timers.

 

They, their companies and their crews are recognized for doing top quality work. With finely-tuned business savvy, they run multiple jobs simultaneously. And they consistently bring in projects under budget.

 

Ironically, few of these successful painters and entrepreneurs anticipated such success. They either loved to paint and wanted to do that the rest of their painting career lives. Or, they loved the painting business and wanted to be the big boss. Their way!

 

My old boss, Ron, was one of those success stories. His company, eventually sold years ago to his partner, continues to thrive. Every painter there pursues his or her job with professionalism. Every painter, and employee, maintains the same commitment to high standards upon which the company was founded in the 1970s.

 

A non-painter, Ron ran with his entrepreneurial dream. Before taking that step, he grabbed on board one of the best commercial and industrial painters in the Midwest: my father. And, with only a one-painter crew, he opened a union painting company.

 

I remember hearing part of a kitchen table conversation when my dad and Ron brainstormed about starting a new painting contractor firm. It was very clear: Dad’s boss knew what type of business he wanted to run, and how he wanted to run it. He knew what commercial and industrial clients in the Midwest wanted, needed and expected. And, he knew how to give it to them.

 

Today, new painting company entrepreneurs can draw from the examples that people like Ron left. They can turn their goals and aspirations into realities. They can build very successful careers in a trade that appreciates creativity, commitment, and core quality.

 

And, they can thrive in a trade and industry – painting and decorating, and construction – that continues to be linked to strong architecture/design/engineering/building innovativeness, invention, and investment.

 

Congratulations to every painter-turned-contractor that has stayed true to his or her mission!

 

Footnote: Travolta and his wife, Kelly, still call “home” their plane-port community near Ocala, Florida. One of the rewards of a 40-plus year career in entertainment.

 

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Stay true to yourself, and always fly true to your mission!

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Copyright June 14, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

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Many hotel and facility painters must work on July 4th. Particularly if they are scheduled for that day of the week. Some painters, especially with maintenance capabilities, opt to work, switching slots so that a married teammate can enjoy the holiday with his or her family.

 

I liked to work on holidays, including July 4. Such a great day: festive, informal atmosphere; light-hearted, friendly people; great food from the chef; lots of games; full occupancy; bosses more easy-going. (And the time-and-a-half pay was nice, too.)

 

Painters that work for contractors usually get off for legal holidays, including July 4. My father, for instance, worked as superintendent for a major union contractor, and also on his own. Either way, he was free to take the holiday off. And, when the 4th fell on a week-end, it was that much sweeter. “Two whole days to have Dad to ourselves.” That’s how I looked at it, as a kid.

 

And, in our family, July 4th was a big deal: a holiday celebrated together. From the time that we got up in the morning – 7 A.M. – till bedtime – 11 P.M.

 

Here’s how a typical JULY 4 played out in our family.

 

1. 7:30 A.M. – BREAKFAST

– Typical menu: Stuffed omelet, pancakes, bacon, buttered toast, orange juice, coffee (for Dad).

– Some years, we took our plates out to the patio, and ate amidst the birds, flowers and rabbits, ladybugs and deer.

2. 9:00 A.M. – GET-READY-TO-ROLL TIME.

– Pack mid-sized cooler with snacks, cans of sodas, bag of ice. Put on comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Grab four folding chairs. Stick everything into Dad’s SUV.

3. 9:30 SHARP – GET-SITUATED TIME

– Find a good parking spot in Hobart. Walk to Ridge Road or Main Street. Set up chairs and cooler at curb. Look for friends and neighbors. Wave “HI.”

4. 10:00-11:30 A.M. – HUGE JULY 4 PARADE

– Floats designed and put together by locals; school marching bands; sports teams from local schools, baton twirlers, children’s and teen gymnastic and dance groups;

– Equestrian groups, prize Arabian stallions from Wayne Pavel’s Shiloh Farms;

– Celebrities and local/state/even national politicians;

– Siren-blaring, lights-flashing police cars and fire engines. Thousands of wrapped candies and Bazooka Bubble Gum, tossed to children along the parade route.

5. 12:00 Noon – LUNCH at Nearby Park

– Watch music performers at Bandstand.

6. 1:30-4:00 P.M. – TIME TO VISIT

– Drive around and briefly visit different relatives and friends.

– Grandparents, Dad’s favorite uncle and family, more housebound relatives.

– Some years, we joined a large picnic at a family friend’s home.

7. 5:00-6:00 P.M. – HOME-AND-RECOUP-TIME

– Family pitched in and cleaned out cooler and put leftover snacks and drinks away from activities earlier in the day.

– Take our time taking care of a few chores, feeding twin puppies and Donna’s gerbil.

– Resting or playing outdoors.

8. 6:00-6:30 P.M. – LIGHT DINNER/SUPPER – often on patio.

– Featured “make-your-own” sandwiches, also tossed salad, chips, homemade cookies, and chilled ice tea (made with real spearmint leaves).

9. 6:30-7:30 P.M. – INDIVIDUAL TIME

– Family talk-fest around kitchen table, or on patio.

– Board game, game of 500 Rummy.

10. 8:00 P.M. – GET-READY-TO-GO-AGAIN TIME

– Pack snacks and drinks, change clothes and put on comfortable shoes again, grab warm jackets or sweaters. Oh yes: Also seat cushions.

– Head for Hobart High School’s Football Field.

11. 9:00-10:00 P.M. – BIG TIME AND EAR-SHATTERING FIREWORKS SHOW!

– Find good spot (? hard bleachers)  with close family friends, near old classmates and neighbors;

– Seated within seeing distance of neighbors, even co-workers, boss, local doctors and families.

–  A great, feel-good way to end a July 4th holiday at home.

12. 10:15 P.M. – HEAD for HOME

– Ringing/deafened ears, tired feet, sore hind-end and muscles, little upset stomach.

– Exhausted, sleepy.

13. 10:40 P.M. – HOME and BED!

 

OUR AWAY-FROM-HOME JULY 4 CELEBRATIONS

 

1. When my sister and I were young, we spent a few July 4 week-ends with our grandparents in southern Indiana. At 9:30 A.M. on the Fourth, we gathered at the curb. Then we watched Linton’s award-winning parade. Even big-name celebrities and politicians vied to ride in that parade.

 

2. When Donna and I entered our teen years, our family took 10-12 day vacations during July 4-time.

* Several times, we stayed on Lake Wawasee, in the great cottage of a family friend. On the 4th, we watched the huge Water/Flotilla Parade, then awesome on-the-water fireworks. There, Dad and Mom taught my sister and me to water-ski.

– Wawasee, located near Syracuse, Indiana, was the summer home of Eli Lilly, aeronautical inventor George E. Manis, insurance magnate Peter Heller, etc.

– The lake also served as location of United Methodist’s Church largest summer camp and retreat and Catholic church’s largest training center and retreat for priests and monks.

– The lake was site of famed “Chinese Pagoda Garden,” a privately-owned replica of the Royal garden.

* Several times, we vacationed at Lake Maxinkuckee. There Dad taught his two teens to handle an inboard cruiser. Note: Famed, private Culver Military Academy was located nearby.

 

Point Is: July 4th was about family. Hanging out together, and because all four of us wanted to do that. In my fifties now, and basically fatherless since 1993, I appreciate more than ever those July 4ths with our entire family. Somehow, it makes every 4th, as an adult, very valuable.

 

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MESSAGE: Do-the-Time this July 4. And, do it with family – by birth, design, or choice.

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Copyright July 1, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Worker Safety: The Good News

OSHA and its state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace safety.

Worker injuries and illnesses are sharply reduced – over 70 percent since the 1970s. (Example: 2.9 per 100 workers in 2016, versus 10.9 in 1972.)

Worker Safety: The Bad News

Worker deaths have increased – 7 percent, or 5,190, or 14 a day/2016, from 2015.

*Read “OSHA Inspectors and the Workplace: Death by Attrition,” by Sandy Smith, Posted Jan. 10, 2018

Construction worker fatalities in private industry – Year: 2016*

1: Over 1 in 5, or 991 (21.1%) of 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry were in construction.

2. 63.7%, or more than one-half, of construction worker deaths attributed to the “Fatal Four:”

A. Falls – 38.7%, or 384 of 991 total deaths in construction.

B. Struck by Object – 9.4%, or 93 of 991 total.

C. Electrocutions – 8.3%, or 82 of 991 total.

D. Caught-in/between – 7.3%, or 71 of 991 total Note: Includes workers killed when caught-in, or compressed by, equipment or objects, and struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material.

* Note: Another set of statistics reports 687 construction worker fatalities in 2016.

 

10 most frequently cited OSHA Standards violations, Fiscal Year 2017 (10/1/2016 09/30/2017.)

 

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017):

 

  1. Fall protection, construction industry – 29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.1200
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction – 29 CFR 1926.451
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.134
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry – 29 CFR 1910.147
  6. Ladders, construction – 29 CFR 1926.1053
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.178
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements – 29 CFR 1910.212]
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements – 29 CFR 1926.503
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.305

 

How Painters and Decorators – you and I – Can Help Save Lives In Construction

 

On the Job

  1. Keep alert for signs of unsafe and unhealthy conditions, hazards, etc.
  2. Be your own best self-advocate for a safe and healthy workplace environment.
  3. Promptly report potential problems to your supervisor, contractor, project manager, property owner.
  4. Do what you can to neutralize a potentially unsafe and unhealthy situation until help arrives.

 

In Our Painting Careers

1.Keep trade and construction industry certifications current. Examples: Note: See Certification chart – separate post.

A. General certifications – Painting/ coatings applications, paint technology, drywalling, construction, maintenance, architectural, exterior applications, general inspections, estimating, CPR/First Aid; UBC.

B. Government certifications – standards/regulations, codes – OSHA, ADA, EPA, HAZMAT.

C. Equipment certifications: OSHA respirator protection, self-contained breathing apparatus, HVLP, spraying, scaffolding, lifts/hydraulics, aerial and swing stage, chemical; State-Class C Driver’s License

D. Specialty painting certifications: Highway/airfields, marine/shipyards, automotive, tanks, underground/confined spaces, aerial, industrial, manufacturing/processing; waterborne systems,

E. Inspection certifications: architectural coatings, industrial coatings, maintenance coatings, paint quality, coverage/mils, environmental.

F. Training certifications: Examples: TrainTheTrainer (TTT),* TrainThePainter (TTP),* Supplementary Course Modules: Marine, Concrete, Thermal Spray, Water-jetting.*   Note: *The Society for Protective Coatings.

 

2. Regularly “checkmate” and update your skill and proficiency levels.

A. Take trade courses when offered in your area, and online – especially when free or low cost.

B. Take advantage of free workshops, webinars, and demonstrations offered by manufacturers of paint products, supplies, tools, equipment, etc.

C. Attend periodic open houses and demonstrations offered by paint product stores.

 

3. Participate in construction and product manufacturer training programs, including online.

A. Join professional networks run by building products’ stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s.

B. Periodically, take professional-level workshops – store and online.

C. Sign up for construction industry apps that can save you time, waste and money.

 

4. Attain and update your government standard/regulation/code certifications.

A. Federal: OSHA, EPA, HAZMAT, HCS (Hazardous Communication Standard), UBC, ORPS (OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard); Training, Inspector.

B. State: Building and construction codes, statutes, regulations.

 

5. Keep current about new federal workplace safety and health regulations.

A. Example: OSHA Fall Protection Standards, June 2017.

B. Some major changes: (1) Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems, (2) Roof Work Changes, (3) Stairways, Ladders, and Guardrails, (4( Workplace Assessments, (5) Training for Employees, (6) Alignment between the General and Construction Industries.

 

Bottom Line: Workplace safety is every worker’s business – and right!

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Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

In most situations, painter accidents can be prevented, or at least minimized. The responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders: property owner/management, contractor(s) and painters, as well as other workers on the site and product/materials/equipment delivery outfits.

 

A CHECKLIST OF ACCIDENT PREVENTION PRACTICES

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Have experience in the proper use of products/materials, supplies, tools and equipment needed to complete the job.
  3. Pay attention to the details – eg. health and safety policies and practices.
  4. Keep up-to-date with your compliance certifications: OSHA, ADA, HAZMAT, HVLP, UBC.
  5. Carry a valid state-issued Class C commercial driver’s license, and Have no infractions within the last three-to-five years.
  6. Maintain certifications required in your specialty areas. Examples: highways/airfields; marine; planes; train cars; automotive; aerial; underground tanks/containers; above-ground tanks/containers; chemicals.
  7. Upgrade your skill-level certifications for working on your specific types of substrates, and using required products and materials. Note: Skills’ levels must be tested regularly.
  8. Keep up-to-date on your employer’s property and liability insurer requirements re: training.
  9. Keep up-to-date on new government standards and regulations and amendments and health and safety codes, AND required additional training and certifications.
  10. Retake advanced training to upgrade your journey-level certifications. Note: This is a requirement with a growing number for members of construction trades and union organizations.
  11. Participate in manufacturer’s product/coatings and related tool and equipment handling workshops, demonstrations, webinars, etc.

 

Following these practices may cause some inconvenience, and an outlay of cash, at the time. However, the risk of unpreparedness can be costly, and dangerous.

Bottom Line: There are no acceptable reasons for preventable accidents and injuries, damages, and fatalities to happen. None at all.

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Painters, as a group, can contribute much to workplace safety and health.

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Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

News Flash: Your Head and brain cannot be replaced. Your spine cannot be replaced.

Most painters must use scaffolding systems to reach higher surfaces, particularly larger spans. Some painters must use scaffolding on a regular basis. And, at times, most must use it in accident-risk areas.

In 2014, a reported 45 painters suffered serious injuries, or worse, while using scaffolding systems. Many more painters suffered less serious injuries, for which they received treatment from their family physicians. Some of these injuries were filed as workmen’s compensation cases. To avoid lay-offs or terminations, many painters with less severe injuries did not report them to employers. And, they did not tell their family physicians they suffered injury on the job.)

According to OSHA, most scaffolding accidents occur because of tip-overs, falls, contact with live power/utility lines, or being struck by falling debris.

Since 1994, the number of scaffolding collapses has risen, in part due to the extreme heights that some must extend.

“10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips”

1.Get the right training – based on OSHA Scaffolding Standard § 1926.454, .451. Includes design, operation and maintenance; erecting and dismantling; placing and moving; getting on and off; preventing falls and injury and responding to emergency situations.

2. Be prepared. Inspect scaffolding before and after each assembling, installation, use, and disassembly. Carefully checking all components. Proper installation includes: base placement, level and adjustments; elevations, obstructions, weather conditions/changes.

3. Make sure everyone is licensed. All employers that use scaffolding on job sites must be licensed. *Bob’s Tip: If available in your area, take a scaffolding certification course.

4. Understand load capacity. * Check www.osha.gov – Amendments and appendices. All scaffolding systems must meet load safety limits during scaffolding construction, installation and setup. This includes limits in number of workers, equipment types/size/weight, walkway and guardrail obstructions.

5. Secure the platform. Scaffolding must be braced by or completely attached to a building, using OSHA-approved manufacturer brace retention or locking system. Includes proper, complete and safe assembly, dismantling, and locking.

6. Use the guardrails or a “fall-arrest system.” Scaffolding over 10-ft. height must have guardrails on three sides facing away from building, at minimum. Install scaffolding guardrail on the side facing the building.

7. Inspect entire scaffolding system. Every component/part/section of each scaffolding system or structure must be carefully checked, maintained and inspected to ensure its structural integrity and safety. Person responsible must know all about scaffold system design, construction, assembly, etc. Person must be committed to ensuring that scaffolding is very functional and safe.

8. Keep everything organized. Supplies, materials, tools, and equipment must be placed neatly on scaffolding. Walkways must be kept free of obstructions, spills, trash, etc.

9. Keep yourself balanced at all times. Scaffolding must be kept perfectly level to minimize worker falls, injuries, fatalities.

10. Use protection and prevention gear while working on scaffolding. Gear includes: head gear, non-slip footwear, snug-fitting uniform/clothing, even safety goggles and gloves in some cases.

For detailed guidelines: Go to: www.osha.gov, OSHA Scaffolding Standards§ 1926.  

1. Start with Index: “Guide to Safety Standards for Scaffolding Used in Construction Industry,” pages 33-38; “Construction Focus and Inspection Guidelines,” pages 38-39.

2. For updated information: See “Amendments” and “Appendices,” pages 40-85.

3. Examine “Drawings and Illustrations,” pages 86-89. *Bob’s Tip: Enlarge to see details of schematics, component design, connections, etc.

Scaffolding Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

  1. Choose most appropriate scaffolding for job – eg. tasks, structures, environment, weather.
  2. Scaffolding should be able to bear 4 times the anticipated weight.
  3. All workers must wear hard hats to protect themselves. A construction zone- OSHA.
  4. Project superintendent/managers must review manufacturer’s guidelines for proper use.
  5. Scaffolding systems must be placed at least 10 feet from power lines.
  6. Planks should “butt” each other, no more than one inch of open space between.
  7. Scaffolding access should be OSHA-standard safe, and (cross-braces not used as ladders.
  8. Planks that are 10 ft. or shorter must be 1-to-12 inches over the line of support.
  9. Planks 10 ft. or longer must be18 inches over the line of support.
  10. Platform should be 14 inches away from the wall.
  11. All metal components of scaffolding must be free from rust, holes or broken welds.
  12. Workers must be instructed to report any cracks in wood planks larger than ¼ inches.
  13. Workers must keep scaffolding walkway free of any debris, spills, disassembled parts.
  14. Shore or lean-to scaffolding is prohibited.
  15. Overhead protection must be provided when work is being done above. *Bob’s Tip: I’d advise shoulder height up.

Scaffolding system safety is the responsibility of everyone that is linked to scaffolding use. The list of people includes the following:

  1. Inspectors and scaffolding-system trained repair and maintenance people.
  2. Haulers, loaders and unloaders.
  3. Assemblers and disassemblers, installers, set-up and take-down crews.
  4. Organizers and managers of scaffolding-site work area.
  5. Painters and other professionals that use it.

 

The level of safety that any given system can provide depends on people and their commitment to scaffolding safety.

CREDITS:

1 .“5 Safety Tips When Working with Scaffolding,” from Kee Safety Company, By Kimberly Hegeman, March 25, 2013. https://www.forconstructionpros.com, (Also read: “A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry.”)

2. “Scaffolding Safety Tips for Handling, Installation and Use,” based on “12 ConstructionPro Scaffolding Safety Tips and Handy Hints,” Construction Pro Tips.com.

3. “10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips,” Industrial Products, posted May 8, 2016, Gumbrealla.

4. “Scaffolding Safety Tips to Keep in Mind,” based on “Scaffolding Safety Tips” by Stan Bachman, construction law, Morefield Speicher Bachman, LC, posted May 30, 2017.

 

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Friendly reminder: All scaffolding systems are inherently unsafe.

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Copyright June 12, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

The following scaffolding safety tips are based on recent reports posted online by (1) manufacturers and distributors of scaffolding systems, (2) OSHA and EPA, (3) trade worker groups, and (4) construction companies. See list of credits at the end of the article. Look for “*Bob’s Tip:”

 

*Bob’s Tip: Wear full protection gear at all times unless OSHA Standard §1926 covers your exception and special on-site circumstance.

 

SCAFFOLDING SAFETY TIPS – App-Sized List  

Tip 1: Slow down every phase of a project requiring use of a scaffolding system.

Tip 2: Do a careful walk-through of work-site before set-up day. Address potential problems.

Tip 3: Do not rush scaffolding installation. Use approved connectors and braces. Make certain all components are put in right places, and fit properly.

Tip 4: *Bob’s Tip: Maximize ground-level prep work. Or, use efficiency-building alternatives.

Tip 5: *Bob’s Tip: Keep scaffolding “work zone” at least 20 feet in diameter.

Tip 6: Keep workplace organized, and walk/standing spaces clear.

Tip 7: *Bob’s Tip: Identify potential hazards, and promptly neutralize.

Tip 8: Get proper training to use scaffolding.

RELATED NOTES:

1. Phases of project can include pre-project site inspection, system unloading and set-up, work on scaffolding, system take-down and loading, site clean-up.

2. Potential hazards: anything that can impede worker, tool/equipment positioning, use, mobility.

3. OSHA Standard § 1926.454 requires that at least one person on-site be certified in scaffold installation, operation, use, maintenance, and inspections.

 

SCAFFOLDING SAFETY TIPS: HAULING, INSTALLATION and USE  

* Note: To emphasize a point, I’ve sub-divided some of the tips.

1. Haul scaffolding safely. Stack components as low as possible: planks, braces, bases, then frames. Keep stacks between the well walls.

2. Cover the entire width of scaffolding bay or standing area with planks. When not possible, install another plank higher up to create a “quad-rail.” Always install a diagonal “gooser brace” when working on casters.

3. Install base jacks or casters so entire scaffold doesn’t need to be lifted to slide them in; and both cross braces on same frame. *Bob’s Tip: A must for one-person installers. Move second frame into position and attach cross-braces to bottom. Before installing planks, slide scaffolding 14-inches from the wall.

4. Install guard rail on at least three sides of scaffolding system. *Bob’s Tip: Install on all four sides, if possible. Do not wear safety harness when it could cause you to pull down scaffolding on top of you.

5. Maintain “three-point” contact.** Keep one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot, touching the scaffolding frame when climbing it. Note: From www.constructionpro.com editor.

6. Build a stable base, whether you’re using casters or base plates. Recommended: 2-in. by 10-inch wood block under each leg, even when working on concrete. Level and plumb scaffold using an adjustable base jack. Never set scaffolding frame on masonry or stacks of wood.

7. Keep tools and supplies in toolboxes, caddies and buckets. Install 2-by-4 board around all four sides, and secure at corners with sturdy wire. *Bob’s Tip: Use carriers around parameter of that base to keep walkway/standing area clear.

8. Use ladder to access platform when wood planks extend over the ends. Run ladder 3-plus feet past edges of planks. Lean on wall, never on the scaffold.

9. Wood planks must measure at least 2 inches thick by 10 feet long. They must extend 6-15 inches over edge of frame. They must be held in place with cleats in good-to-great condition.

10. Use sturdy wood for planking – eg. Douglas fir, Pine, laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Renting scaffolding? Look for safety stamp on each edge of each plank. (See no. 15 below.) Avoid softer pines. Avoid boards that have larger knots, and/or are warped, slick, finished, covered with “globs.”

11. Build a handy workbench by installing  planks at a higher level than your walkway planks.

12. Do not mix and match or combine scaffolding styles. Avoid combining scaffolding systems from different manufacturers. NOTE: If you have no choice, please follow advice below.

13. Special tips when you must combine styles and components.

A. *Bob’s Tip: Identify the different scaffolding manufacturers you’re dealing with; jot down information

B. *Bob’s Tip: Quickly list components you have, and components you need to install OSHA-safe system.

C. Measure overall frame, tube diameters inside/outside, cross brace stud spacing and location

D. * Bob’s Tip: Check design of tubing, brace studs, connections. Make certain components are compatible.

E. *Bob’s Tip: Closely examine condition of scaffolding system before and after assembly

14. Scaffolding Inspections – paintshop-owned systems. Make certain inspections are part of periodic equipment maintenance within paintshop. Make sure inspections are carried out by person very experienced in scaffolding construction.

15. Scaffolding Inspections – rental-owned system. Inspect scaffolding BEFORE you allow it to be loaded onto your truck at rental place. Check all piping, connectors, base plates, etc. Check for a safety stamp on each edge of each plank.

16. Scaffolding Installation. Stay clear of power lines – at least 10-feet away, on all sides and top. *Bob’s Tip 1: This includes phone lines and cables, main electrical/ circuitry/ switch boxes, etc. *Bob’s Tip 2: Stay clear of structural sharp edges; embankments, ledges, drop-offs; large obstructions, etc.

17. *Bob’s Top Tip: Wear that hard hat, whether you’re up on that scaffolding, or on the ground. OSHA Standard §1926 Exception: You’re using equipment such as a full-head respirator, and the hat won’t fit, etc.

BOTTOM LINE: All scaffolding systems are inherently unsafe. The level of safety that any given system can provide depends on people and their commitment to scaffolding safety.

CREDITS:

1. “5 Safety Tips When Working with Scaffolding,” from Kee Safety Company, By Kimberly Hegeman, March 25, 2013. https://www.forconstructionpros.com, (Also read: “A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry.”)

2. “Scaffolding Safety Tips for Handling, Installation and Use,” based on “12 ConstructionPro Scaffolding Safety Tips and Handy Hints,” Construction Pro Tips.com.

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Copyright June 12, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

A painter’s most essential physical asset is his or her spinal column. It serves as the main support for all activities. Examples: Standing, walking, climbing; lifting, carrying, loading, unloading; moving, pushing, pulling; bending, kneeling, crouching; sitting, lying.

 

Ways to protect and strengthen your “painter spine”

 

  1. At work, wear a non-roll back support under your uniform or work clothing.
  2. Wear shoes or boots that fit each foot, and leave toe-room when you’re standing, or walking; also that support every part of your feet, also your ankles and shins.
  3. Minimize use of heavy, cumbersome footwear that limits circulation, dissipation of moisture and sweating, and mobility and balance.
  4. Minimize use of shoes and slippers with little or no support for the sides and back of each foot.
  5. Use ergonomic chairs or similar seating at work, and elsewhere.
  6. Minimize use of soft/cushiony seating – work, home, vehicle, etc.
  7. Alternate your arms when grabbing, lifting, carrying, and moving 5-gallon paint buckets, or any other item requiring only one hand.
  8. Alternate legs used to lead out when stepping out, stepping up, bending at knees, etc.
  9. Vary extensions or stretches of legs when walking, carrying or moving.
  10. When climbing ladders, maintain as straight or upright posture as possible.
  11. Suck in or contract stomach muscles to help maintain spinal disc alignment in your spinal column.
  12. When bending, kneeling, crouching, etc., try not to round the shoulders, hunch over, “roll” your shoulders inward.
  13. Try to keep shoulders and cervical spine line relaxed.
  14. Stand tall when pushing or pulling things – e.g. a service cart.
  15. Maintain a straight posture when driving your golf cart.

 

Exercises that can help strengthen and support your “painter spine”

1. Exercises you can do every day.

A. Brisk 30-minute walk, wearing a soft back brace.

B. Leisure walk at a moderate pace.

C. Floor stretches, lying flat with arms at your sides or stretched outward.

D. Gentle stomach crunches, lying flat and nudging spine to floor.

E. Slow foot and leg raises, done lying on your stomach, on flat surface.

— Raising one foot and leg at a time, then lowering back to the floor.

— Later, raising both feet and legs at the same time, then lowering back to the floor. TIP: Avoid strain and force. STOP if you have any back, hip or leg pain.

F. Leg raises, done lying on floor and using slow, smooth movements.

 

2. Exercises two-three times a week.

A. Deep-lung breathing, lying flat on floor, arms at your sides, eyes on the ceiling. Note: Excellent way to relax entire spine, and body, after physically strenuous day.

B. Wall-hugs, done standing and pushing entire form against wall. Tip: do without shoes.

C. Duo-leg raises, lying flat, breathing deep. Note: Can even out breathing and relax leg muscles.

D. Rib cage-lung deep breathing, done standing straight, exhaling while pushing rib cage/lungs outward. Note: Can restore breathing rhythm after working with contaminants in poorly-ventilated area.

E. Vertical stretches, raising arms above head and breathing deeply, slowly exhaling as arms lowered to front of body.

F. Moves that promote diaphragm breathing, and also regulate breathing.

G. Moves that realign and relax upper and lower limbs simultaneously.

 

3. Exercises you can sneak in wherever you are

A. Standing in line: relaxing one leg at a time, and rotating foot at ankle.

B. Standing: rising on toes, then lowering back to floor/ground.

C. Standing: stretching one leg at a time behind you, then back to normal position.

D. Standing: switching weight back and forth from side-to-side.

 

The whole idea is to turn spinal exercises into maneuvers that stretch then relax muscles, joints and tendons. No strain, no pain.

 

If you already have spinal cord injuries and damage, you want to prevent further damage. You need to reduce the risk of more pain and damage. Yet you want to maximize the attributes your spine still has.

 

If, like mine, your spinal cord is in good shape, you want to keep it that way as long as you can.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above suggestions are only that. If you have any health issue, first consult with your physician before even trying these exercises. The spinal column is related, one way or another, to the rest of the body. So, cover your bases. Make certain that exercises are safe for your spine – and body as a whole.

 

Closing thought: I’d rather have a spine weakened by a strong work ethic, and years of first-rate service, than a spine that never learned its worth.

 

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Many thanks for maintaining high work standards, while protecting your spine.

 

Copyright May 29, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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