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Painter’s World: Scaffolding Safety, and OSHA Standards

An estimated 2.3 million construction workers – 65 percent of total – work on scaffolding. And, of the 4,500 reported injuries and 50-60 deaths, 72 percent are attributed to planking or supports giving away, or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

In 2016, twenty painter fatalities were reported, and were attributed to slipping and falling. At this time, OSHA and the U. S. Department of Labor have no way of ascertaining the true figures in painter fatalities related to scaffolding. * Above statistics from the U. S. Department of Labor, and OSHA agency.

Keep in mind: Only twenty-eight of the fifty states in the U. S. have OSHA-approved state plans on board for scaffolding. This means they operate and offer state-wide OSHA programs on scaffolding system operations and management; equipment installation, set-up and take-down; repair, and maintenance; and, training, use and on-site troubleshooting.

Consider these realities: If you work for a painting contractor, licensed in one of those twenty-eight states, that contractor/company must be certified/licensed by OSHA to operate, install and use scaffolding systems on any job-site. The contractor/company must carry special liability insurance to cover every employee that will be working within 20-30 feet of that scaffolding.

Many rules must be followed, to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for the workers. And, the OSHA standards must be followed by companies that employ construction workers – painters – on a project basis, and not as part of their regular paint crews.

Note: OSHA Standard § 1926.451 also applies if you are a painting contractor, even a one-person shop in one of those twenty-eight states.

If you work as a staff painter and must, at any time, use a scaffolding system, your employer is legally responsible for that scaffolding. Here, “employer” can include the business owner(s); business/property management company, if any; top on-site manager(s); and, your supervisor(s). If your “employer” rents the scaffolding system that you must use, then, the scaffolding equipment company is also responsible.

Keep in mind: Scaffolding system safety is serious business. Literally, a life-and-death issue.

 

ATTENTION: Florida Painters and Construction Workers.

As of the beginning of 2018, the state of Florida did not have an OSHA-Approved Safety and Health Plan.

 

I. OSHA Scaffolding Safety Standards – § 1926.451

 

From: “CONSTRUCTION FATAL FOUR”

A. “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Standards Violations in Fiscal Year FY2017. (10/01/16-09/30/17.

B. “Scaffolding, engineering requirements, Construction (29 CFR 1926.451) [Related OSHA Safety and Health Topics pgs.]

C. “OSHA is Making a Difference: Lesson Plan: Construction Training Program (10-hour), Topic: Scaffolding.”

D. “OSHA Guide to Safety Standards for Scaffolding Used in Construction Industry.” O3150, 2002 Revised. Pp. 33-90.

— “Focused Inspection Guidelines.” P. 3.

E. “OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) – Globally; Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).

F. “OSHA’s New Fall Protection Standards/ (Regulations),” 2017.

 

II. U. S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

A. Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG)

 

III. OTHER SOURCES FOR SCAFFOLDING SAFETY INFORMATION

 

A.“5 Safety Tips when Working with Scaffolding.” By Kimberly Hagerman, ConstructionPros.com, Posted March 25, 2013.

B.“12 Scaffolding Safety Tips and Handling Hints.” ConstructionPros.com.

C.“10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips.” “Safety Scaffolding,” Contribute Industrial Products, Posted May 8, 2016.

D. “Scaffolding Safety Tips.” MSB (Morefield Speicher Bachman, LC, Overland Park, Kansas. Posted 05/30/2017.

E. “Protecting Your Business During the Cold Weather Months.” MSB, Posted 11/21/2017.

 

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Scaffolding safety is the responsibility of everyone involved, including any painter that uses the system.

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Copyright June 5, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s World: A Scaffolding Accident Case Worth Reporting

Scaffolding injuries a year: 4,500; deaths: 50.

 

In 2016, at least sixty-five painters were reported as being injured in scaffolding accidents.

 

The term “fall prevention” hadn’t been conceived yet, let alone used in the construction industry, in the 1970s.

 

But, J.M., a twenty-four year old painter did fall over 30 feet, when the scaffolding system collapsed and broke apart. He suffered severe, permanent spinal cord, arm/hand/wrist and brain damage. Doctors did not know if he would ever sit and walk again. They were certain that he would never be able to work again. Even from a wheelchair.

 

For the rest of his life, he would require extensive medical treatment, surgical procedures, and rehabilitation services. Also skilled nursing care. All at a huge cost, and expense.

 

At the time of the accident, the third-generation painter carried a $1 million health insurance policy, through his national union, IBPAT/IUPAT.

 

On J.M.’s behalf, his parents sued for money to cover all of his current and, especially, future needs. Time period: From the date and time of the accident to the date and time of his death, funeral rite, and burial; and posthumously through the date of his last expense or cost.  The co-defendants in the lawsuit included the following: scaffolding manufacturing company, equipment rental company, general contractor/project construction company, property owners, his painting contractor employer, the state’s Workmen’s Compensation division, etc.

 

A Chicago law firm handled the case. It had an international reputation for successfully litigating employee-on-the-job accident cases pertaining to the construction industry, and related product design, engineering and manufacturing. The firm was recommended by an equally noted legal-medical researcher and physiologist. And, each person brought to the litigation team possessed an extensive background in specific areas pertaining to construction accidents, particularly those causing severe, permanent damages and disabilities. Even death.

 

J.M.’s physical and psychological status were apparent. The evidence files bulged with accident-scene photos and witness accounts, patient medical records and reports, and expert analyses. Added was employment records from before the accident, then from seven years later, when he tried, repeatedly, to work again through a special Social Security Administration program.

 

Still, the case took over eight years to settle. If it wouldn’t have been for his parents and sister holding down full-time jobs during those eleven years, J.M. wouldn’t have made it that long.

 

The large group of co-defendants agreed to settle out-of-court. A non-disclosure agreement had to be signed by all parties. The settlement sum and terms were never disclosed. (Even the closest friends of J.M. and his veteran painter father were never told the details.)

 

Few actual dollars exchanged hands. Remember: The family’s goal was to ensure that all of J.M.’s future needs would be met for the rest of his life. So, the attorneys on both sides collaborated to set up various special needs and other types of trusts for the disabled painter. Members of his family were named as co-trustees, also “limited co-beneficiaries.”

 

In time, he found a way to return to painting. He still required more treatments and more prescriptions medications to function. Some of his bodily damages had been inoperable.

 

In the years that J.M. continued on this earth, he and his wife reared three children. Each child grew into adulthood and married, adding descendants to the family tree. Then, they had children. And, in spite of serious weaknesses in his spinal column, J.M. served as an inspiration in the community. And, the limbs and branches in his family tree grew strong, and productive.

 

Eventually, J.M. died. His liver and kidneys could no longer handle those medications and some of their dangerous interactions. Different parts of his body gave way to the added impact of aging. His heart could no longer take the strain. And, his heart and brain stopped.

 

The family could have ordered for his life to be prolonged by seventy-two hours. But, what would have been the point?

 

J.M.’s horrendous fall from the collapsing scaffolding was one thing. What he had to cope with and live through for the ensuing years was too much. It was more than even his fantastic attitude and his family’s love and support could ensure.

 

* J.M. 1948 – 2014.

 

See: “Scaffolding Safety, and OSHA Standards §1926.451

And the guide to “Safety Standards for Scaffolds Used in the Construction Industry.”

 

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Every painter is entitled to be supported by a well-built, properly assembled, and safe scaffolding system. No exceptions.

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Copyright June 05, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

TORNADOES

IN 1946…

At age four, my mother watched a “swirling, dirty gray” funnel approach her at the kitchen window, then lift from the ground. A while later, her father stood outside the farm house. He followed the path that the tornado had taken after lifting.

Directly above that window, the funnel tore off over one-half of the roof shingles. It ripped out red bricks from the chimney. Inside, it popped sections of plaster from the ceilings and walls in every room. Not only behind painted but also wallpapered walls.

The tornado had just missed the family inside the house. But, the “big wind” had pushed in the walls. Then it toppled the big red barn, killing four horses.

In 1993, my grandfather told me that he never figured out where the Billy goat had hidden that day. But, he was the only larger animal spared.

IN 1971…

At age eight, I stood at my third-grade classroom’s span of huge windows, and watched. “Look, Mrs. D., a BIG gray cloud.”

Then, the school’s muffled alarm went off. My teacher shouted, “Hurry, everyone into the hall!” And, next came a deafening and strong WHOOSH! Like a real powerful vacuum cleaner.

The country school was spared, except for windows blown out of four of the classrooms that stood in the tornado’s path.

By the way, from our family’s home located a little southwest of the school, my mother saw the funnel heading for my elementary school. And she phoned the school principal.

IN THE LATE 1980s…

My father had just filled his roller with more paint. A supervisor at the Lever Brothers plant shouted, “Hit the floor, everyone!”

And total chaos hit next. Toppling cases of liquid Wisk laundry detergent. Bottles of Snuggles fabric softener flying and swaying through the air. Steel equipment ripped apart.

It took a while until our company got the call that we painters could return to finish the “safety” paint job. In fact, the project was greatly expanded, because of the major repairs and reconstruction after the tornado struck. Our paint job at the plant got extended over three months.

On September  of 2017…

Decorative painter Jonathan, a friend at Melbourne Beach, secured his one-man paintshop. He hunkered down for Category 3-4 Hurricane Irma’s arrival during the next day.

He’d lived through a number of other major hurricanes and tropical storms. He wasn’t worried. But from experience, he was cautious.

What he had never faced was a tornado.

“I’ll see that twisting and hear that locomotive the rest of my life,” he said on the phone. “My shop is in shambles. All my brushes, paints, templates, etc? Fine.” The 55-year old native of Los Angeles County sounded very shaken. A guy that grew up along the San Andreas Fault Line.

IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE MIDWEST…

Tornadoes are common and frequent.

“We batten down the hatches,” said aeronautical inventor and industrialist George Manis in July of 1960. He’d arrived home minutes before a set of tornadoes whipped across Lake Wawasee.
But too late to help his wife, Mary, and my mother secure the boats tied up at the piers, and move the heavy wrought iron patio furniture.

“Those lakefront homes were all well-built,” my mother said last week. “They were made to withstand tornadoes, as well as the brutal winter snow and ice storms.”

IN THE SOUTHEAST…

Tornadoes are often spawned from tropical storms or hurricanes. Sometimes by electrically-charged lightning storms.

Wherever they occur with some regularity, the residents have learned to heed the warnings. They pay attention. They try to secure outdoor furniture, vehicles, boats, etc. They pack up. They move near a sturdy inside wall.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE WITH TORNADOES…

My mother noted that, like those homes hit in Indiana years ago, the ones heavily damaged this month in Central Florida will require major repairs inside and out. “Some reconstruction and restoration.”

Agreed! Many of the Florida properties will also require toxic mold remediation before any repairs can be made. Before any reconstruction and restoration can take place. Before any painter can take a brush, roller or spray gun and apply a beautiful new finish to any surface.

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Both tornadoes and hurricanes can leave behind irreparable damages,
irreplaceable losses, and unforgettable memories.
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Stay storm safe and smart. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: The Future of Painting and Decorating

In the future, which most of us have not thought much about, the painting of surfaces will no longer be needed.

 

All construction and building materials will be coated at the manufacturing plant. Even touch-ups on the construction sites will be unnecessary.

 

If you’ve been paying attention, that’s the case more and more today.

 

So, where will that leave the experienced painter? Will he or she become extinct?

 

A number of occupational pilot programs offer training in things like “paint coatings technology,” for example. Painters learn skills used at the product design and manufacturing levels.

 

  1. Design, development and maintenance of computer systems that run assembly coating systems equipment.
  2. Operation of assembly painting computer system equipment.
  3. Research and development of painting and coating products applied at building products manufacturing plants.
  4. Manufacture of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  5. Installation and maintenance of manufacturing equipment that applies coatings.
  6. Quality control.
  7. Sales and marketing of above mentioned computer systems, manufacturing equipment, and pre-coated construction materials and products.
  8. Risk management.
  9. Accounting, credit and collections.
  10. Training of construction workers in installation of pre-coated materials and products, etc.

 

You get the picture.

 

Painting science and technology. Not a bad choice, actually. Generally, technology jobs pay more per hour. They offer more job stability, and mobility. They offer access to job, and volunteer, opportunities not available outside the realm of science and technology (STEM).

 

By this time, the old structures and pieces will have bitten the dust. I’m referring to the homes, office buildings, stores, schools, restaurants, manufacturing plants, etc. that required painters on site, or a paintshop, for brushing, rolling or spraying on product.

 

The panorama of our residential, commercial and industrial landscapes and skylines will be occupied solely by surfaces pre-coated at the plant. Sleek, clean lines. Toxic-free, hazard-free.

 

Recently, I got out “Star Wars” from my Star Wars Trilogy Special Collection. I popped it into my DVD-VCR system. I looked more closely at the sets used in the movie. Awesome!

 

There, in full view, was a vivid picture of future surfaces. Those construction/building products and materials precoated at the manufacturing plant.

 

I took my first class in Painting Technology 101, I guess you could say. Food for thought for certain.

 

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It’s amazing the trade lessons that science/futuristic fiction authors, artists

and filmmakers have been teaching us, probably without thinking about that.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s Tips: Adapting for the Environment

 

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out; and the air is dry and moderately cool.

 

On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.

 

Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.

 

The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.

 

TIPS FOR ADAPTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT

 

TIP 1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently.

Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.

 

TIP 2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun.

 

TIP 3. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation.

 

TIP 4. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus.

 

TIP 5: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, however, it is not possible.

 

TIP 6. Minimize toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system.

 

TIP 7. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.

 

TIP 8. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.

 

Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

 

KEY TIP: Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.

 

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Everyone in a painter’s  work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

HEAT ILLNESS: Special Life-Saving Prevention Tips for Painters. Part II

“WATER. REST.  SHADE.”

 

 

PLEASE DO: Before the prolonged hot, humid and full-sun season starts…

1. Get approval to adjust your uniform requirements, to fit extreme hot, humid, sunny conditions.

2. Get approval to adjust regular tasks and projects to minimize exposure to extreme conditions.

3. Get approval for a plan on how you will work in these extreme conditions when you must handle, or help resolve, property emergencies.

 

PLEASE DO: During prolonged hot, humid and full-sun season…

1. Schedule exterior painting during the coolest times of your work day.

Example A: Dawn-to-10 AM. Example B: 5 PM-to-dusk or dark, or later.

 

2. Plan to work on surfaces and areas opposite full-sun exposure.

Example A: West and north sides of buildings when sun is over east and south sides.

Example B: East and south sides of buildings when sun is on west and north sides.

 

3. When handling, or helping to resolve, any property emergency, follow your plan.

NOTE: There are times when exterior painting must be done immediately.

 

4. Wear clothing/uniforms made of fabric that (a) reflects sun and (b) allows sweat to evaporate.

 

5. Wear short, white painter’s pants when you must work in temperatures 90 degrees and higher. Regardless of the time period involved.

 

6. Wear a cap or hat with a visor, when working and/or walking in the sun. TIP: Wider is wiser.

 

7. Keep a drinking water supply with you at all times. TIP: Cool or cold. Avoid ice cold.

 

8. Carry packs of small snacks in your pocket. Examples: Walnuts/almonds, Peanut M&Ms, raisins, Trail mix, granola bars, energy bars.

 

9. Carry frozen ice pack in small cooler on your golf cart or pushcart. Stick in healthy snacks. Examples: V-8 or orange juice; apple, banana. Help to stabilize potassium, sodium, hydration, etc.

 

 BOTTOM LINE: The painter on duty must get his/her work done. One way or another.

 

Watch out for yourself when the heat and humidity start to climb. And, the full-sun sets in for an intense and long visit!

 

Help set the standard for others to watch out for themselves. And, to help pay it forward…

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Learn and Live “Heat Illness” Free. Go to: www.osha.gov/heatillness.

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A Happy and Healthy New Year to everyone, especially old coworkers and friends.
And, many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Consulting in the Painting Trade

 

Why do highly skilled, innovative and excellent employees turn to self-employment and consulting? 

 

In October, I surveyed fifty-two journey-level painters that had left “boss situations.” All had gone into contracting and/or consulting. All possessed over 15 years of previous experience painting, in an employee or staff member capacity. Examples: contractor, facility, government, private corporation, institution, school system, property management company, etc.

 

Many of the painters “commented” with the following reasons for offering consulting services:

 

  1. Decision-makers already seek out their creative ideas and advice.
  2. These people tend to listen, use and follow suggestions.
  3. They tend to pay well for the expertise and direction.

 

Another reason given: RESPECT!

 

Three former employee painters described the well-known “suggestion box” scenario.

 

Some employers set out suggestion boxes to impress employees with their “inclusion” policies. They might read the suggestions. Often, they are filed away, or “shelved.” The employees, including the painter, hear nothing more about them.

 

Decision-makers that tap consultants will actually read those employee suggestions. They will act upon them. Moreover, they will include the employees in those follow-through activities.

 

Why do skilled, successful and excellent employers turn to consultants that, previously, were highly skilled and excellent staff painters?

 

Twenty-five employers with staff painters on board were surveyed a month earlier, in September.

 

Many “commented” with three reasons they turned to painting consultants that previously served as staff painters.

 

  1. The consultant will work as smart and hard for them, and they worked before, as employees.
  2. The consultant will take the time to learn and understand all about them, their business, their problems, and their circumstances.
  3. The consultant will do everything in his or her power to (a) find the right solutions and (b) help them – customer/client – actually put those solutions into practice.

 

Another term for it: MUTUAL RESPECT!

 

In painting and decorating, consulting is an important part of every project. It is a key element in every successful and trusting painter and client/customer relationship.

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Reach out. Give where you can. Build a network.

Root yourself. Help others do the same.

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Many thanks, to everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

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