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Painter’s World: Worker Safety and Certifications

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.

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Painter’s World: Preventing Painter Accidents

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.

Paintshop: Scaffolding Safety Tips, Part II: OSHA Scaffolding Standard § 1926.451+

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.

Paintshop: Scaffolding Safety Tips, Part I

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.

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.

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.

PAINTER’S VIEW: TOXIC MOLD

We’ve covered toxic black mold – Stachybotrys chartarum – every year since this blog started. So, what else can be said about it? Quite a lot, it turns out.

 

TAKING TOXIC MOLD SPORES WITH YOU

 

Example: Math and science journalist Julie Rehmeyer,* 40, took along personal possessions when she moved (twice) from “a pair of ramshackle travel trailers,” outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. She noticed severe muscle and tendon pain, cognitive brain storms, worsened partial paralysis, extreme fatigue, etc.

 

She started to improve, only when she eventually moved, in early 2012, to the desert (Death Valley), and took “none” of her “own belongings.” Her limbs, tendons and joints functioned. Breathing slowed. Her hazy eye focus diminished. Most important, she learned to detect mold presence, based on bodily responses, and to avoid it in the future.

 

* Through the Shadowlands by Julie Reymeyer, copyright 2017, New York: Rodale Publishing Company. (Note: Reymeyer’s experiences with black mold were brought to my attention by relatives that read “Lost And Found,” in O The Magazine, June 2017, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 103.)

 

Example: Hotel bookings/sales director Dana B (not real name), noticed worsening asthma symptoms, when driving home from work and later at home. When she was removing work-day clothing and putting them into the hamper, getting something from her handbag, even changing from her high heels to athletic shoes.

 

Her only solutions, except to change her workplace, were to run the A/C in the vehicle and at home; launder clothes with “green,” environmentally  safe soap and softener; never use any grooming or makeup products/containers used at work; etc. (To my knowledge, “Dana” never really made the connection between her workplace and after-work symptoms.)

 

Example: Florida painting contractor Luis R. noticed that he was experiencing hives and rashes; shortness of breath; red, burning eyes; extreme fatigue; etc. This was happening every evening, by the time he got home from a major restoration project in South Florida. The symptoms at home sometimes worsened when he was doing paperwork and using his work laptop. For instance, his fingers itched and he sneezed incessantly. Then, when climbing back into his double-cab truck the next morning to head out, the backs of his knees and upper calves started to itch and burn.

 

A close examination, with a powerful magnifying glass, detected tiny black spores all over his truck, on file folders, on parts of his computer, on all three pairs of work boots, and, on his thermal water jug and lunch carrier.

 

Example: Paul P. (not real name), president of a hotel management company, noticed that he would suffer worsening breathing problems after every visit to one of their client hotels located in Florida. Especially later at night, while preparing his report of the day’s activities. His wife, a former hospital director, suggested toxic mold. Spores that he may have, unknowingly, carried off of a worksite.

 

His symptoms improved after he put someone else in charge of handling that hotel, and making those site visits on a bi-weekly/monthly basis. (Note: Within two months, that worker started to experience problems with breathing, rashes, vision, and fevers.)

 

TIPS FOR PAINTERS IN “TOXIC BLACK MOLD and SPORES-PRONE” ZONES

 

  1. Be aware of the fact that you normally live in one of these zones. You are not visiting.
  2. Stay alert for symptoms, even minor changes in the way your body is behaving.
  3. Nip it in the bud. Check things out – eg. your different “space;,” clothing and shoes; gear, tools and equipment. Even your golfcart, service cart, paintshop/workshop.
  4. Promptly report any and all symptoms and body changes to your doctor.
  5. Get tested for toxic allergens, chemicals and hazardous materials by a board certified specialist, with extensive expertise in those areas.
  6. Become proactive and protective of your own health.

 

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Often, solutions to long-term problems are found in short-term actions. RDH

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Copyright April 10, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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