Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

“WATER. REST. SHADE.”

 

Heat illness is very dangerous, even deadly. Especially to workers that are exposed to excessive levels of heat, humidity, sun, and poor air supply/ventilation.

 

According to OSHA, “Employers have the responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe from excessive heat (and humidity).”

 

As painters and decorators, we are our own best advocates in preventing heat illness on the job. We have the responsibility to become “heat illness savvy.” To know our own abilities and limits. To become aware of our teammates’ abilities and limits under the heat. And, to work smart!

 

NOW – during the cooler months – is the time:

 

1. to develop our own plan to prevent and treat on-the-job heat illness symptoms,

2. to determine how to handle our workload during the sustaining hot and humid months/season. In Florida: May through October.

 

NOW is the time to get the facts out about heat illness.

 

1. Talk about the 4 main types, and their symptoms, risks and warning signs, and, safety issues.

2. Publicize the illness locally – both in workplaces and throughout the community.

3. Orient everyone on the team and staff about what to look for. The need to be on the alert.

4. Train team members and staff what to do, when, and how. The need to respond promptly.

5. Commit to on-going heat illness awareness and advocacy at the workplace.

 

HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION TIPS for PAINTERS

 

1. Know your body.

A. What is your tolerance level to heat, humidity, and sun exposure (direct and indirect)?

B. What are your exertion limits within that tolerance level?

 

2. Know your work environment.

A. What is the highest temperature range in which you must work during the hottest, most humid season? How many hours a day? How many days a week?

B. What is the actual temperature felt by your body? Hint: Add heat index to reported temp..

C. What is the longest period of time during a work day, that you must work continuously in that actual temperature? Example: 4 hours.

D. How many days during a week must you work continuously in the actual temperature?

E. What is the clean-air and ventilation level in your work area(s) on a continual basis? Rate it: excellent, good, fair, poor.

 

3. Know your job’s physical demands.

A. How many hours a day, in hot and humid conditions, must you exert yourself physically and continuously? How many days a week?

B. At how fast of a pace must you do your work? Rate: Very slowly-to-very fast.

C. For how long a period must you keep up that pace? Example: 45 minutes; Example: 2 hours.

D. How many breaks do you get, ordinarily, during your workday? Example: 2.

1) At what times, other than lunch, are you given scheduled breaks? No. of minutes? Where?

2) How many additional breaks are you allowed during workdays in hot, humid conditions?

3) How often can you take a break when hot and humid conditions exceed your tolerance level?

 

4. Know your physical limits in meeting the physical demands of the job.

A. How many pounds can you lift, carry or move at once, under mild weather conditions?

1) How many pounds under hot and humid conditions, without experiencing any symptoms?

2) Do you need to use a cart or other conveyance piece of equipment to move, carry or lift

B. How long can you climb and stand on a ladder under mild weather conditions?

1)How long under hot and humid conditions, without experiencing any symptoms?

C. How long and often can you bend/stoop/crouch within one hour, under mild conditions?

1) How long and often can you can do these, under hot and humid conditions? No symptoms?

D. How long can you stand and how far can you walk without resting, in mild conditions?

1) How long can you hold or carry anything that weighs your “pound limit,” without symptoms?

2) How long and how far under hot, humid conditions? Without experiencing symptoms?

 

5. Know what your first heat illness symptoms may be.

A. What have been your first heat illness symptoms in the past? List them on card; put in wallet.

B. How long had you been working in hot and humid conditions before any symptoms hit you?

C. What medical conditions do you have that could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms?

D. What medications do you take that could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms? Include over-the-counter products – eg. antihistamines, aspirins, nasal sprays.

 

Do you have a low tolerance level to hot-humid-poor ventilation environmental conditions?

 

If so, may I suggest…

1. Get checked out by your physician. Also, “Complete Metabolic Panel” and basic blood tests.

2. Avoid hot, humid, poorly ventilated, and intense full sun.

3. Work in cooler, shaded areas when extreme hot/humid conditions do exist in other areas.

4. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any situation that might cause, trigger and/or exacerbate your susceptibility to suffering heat illness symptoms.

 

READ: “Heat Illness: Special Work Day Life-Saving Prevention Tips for Painters. Part II”

 

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Save a life from heat illness. Teammate, boss, guest, visitor. Yours!

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 May you and yours enjoy a healthy, fulfilling and safe 2016.

And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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