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Painter’s World: Preventing Permanent Damage To Your Own Body

Every painter that’s worked in the trade for three months or longer knows about health and safety issues. Whether working for a hotel or facility, a contractor, a corporation, or on his or her own.

 

SEVEN CAREER PAINTERS AND THEIR HEALTH ISSUES…

 

LARRY herniated three lumbar discs from lifting, carrying and moving heavy paint equipment.

TIM fell and lost use of his thoracic and lumbar spine areas, both legs and one arm, after a scaffolding collapsed.

WAYNE damaged both hips climbing extension ladders and scaffolding, while carrying heavy paint cans and spray equipment.

PAUL destroyed the ligaments in his “painting hand” and wore down cartilage in his wrists from years of repetitive motions.

JESSE developed spondylosis in both knees from climbing ladders, bend, and crouching.

KEN wore down the joints, tendons and muscles in his “spraying hand.”

MARK developed skin cancer from frequent exposure to paint chemicals and direct sun.

 

Over time, over 78 percent of painters suffer permanent damage to their hands and wrists, spinal cord, knees, hips, and feet. And, they develop irreversible respiratory, lung, eye, and skin problems.

 

It’s all that lifting, toting, carrying, pushing, pulling, moving, bending, stooping, crawling, crouching, etc. It’s all that breathing in and coming in contact with toxic paint product chemicals, cleaning agents, environmental hazardous materials, etc.

 

Gross picture that I’ve painted? It’s meant to be. Alarming painters’ prognoses? It’s meant to be.

 

TEN TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR OWN HEALTH

 

Overall: Invest in and regularly use supports for the parts of your body that you use the most, and//or are already weak, damaged, or worn.

 

  1. Lifting – Besides that “bend and lift from the knees” rule, always wear a back brace from your thoracic spine to below the waist.
  2. Working on knees – Slide on knee pads, under or over your pants legs.
  3. Hand and wrist grasping – Slide foam tube over paint brush handles. (TIP from Mark Santos, Wall Wizard.)
  4. Carrying – Wear padded, firm grip gloves.
  5. Pushing/pulling – Wear elbow and forearm pads and braces.
  6. Spraying – Besides longer hand and wrist support gloves, wear a soft neck brace. I like one that fits under my shirt or jacket collar.
  7. Standing/climbing – Into those work boots, insert contoured gel pads. BONUS: Ankle/shin socks or supports.
  8. Stooping – Yes, affordable hip, thigh and femur supports are available – and work great.
  9. Breathing hazardous chemicals/fumes, etc. – Minimum: Inexpensive masks. Recommend: Adjustable respirators. Safest: Self-contained breathing/air flow apparatus.
  10. Skin and eyes – SUIT UP for skin. Wear snug-fitting safety glasses that cover entire area.

 

Eventually, you may become one of those painter’s statistics, regardless of what you do and precautions you take.

 

However, protecting and supporting your vital “painter parts” will certainly give you a one-up at minimizing those risks and maximizing your painter’s world shelf life.

 

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Protect your own body; it’s the only one that you’ll ever have!

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Stay safe. Live well. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel Painting During Slow Seasons

 

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in certain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment; busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business.

 

In Florida, the slow season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But, the “slow season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much fewer resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

SIX SLOW SEASON SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies.                  TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b) unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slow season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

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“Slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

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Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

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

 

Welcome to Palmer’s Hotel for Children!

The Palmers lived in a 20-plus room, white-framed house at the edge of Valparaiso, Indiana. Its three-story structure stood at the top of a long, hilly lane surrounded by tall, sturdy shade trees. (Perfect for climbing, by the way.) At least three dormers rose from both the front and back sides of the roof.

 

Seven days a week, the place became “Palmer’s Hotel for Children.” And, it served as a fun and safe place to “visit” for young people between 3 months and 13 years of age.

 

The “Palmer’s Hotel” had every amenity that a child could possibly wish for:

 

  1. Huge, grassy back yard with lots of room to roam.
  2. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, goat, lamb, ponies.
  3. Swing sets and Jungle Jims.
  4. Roomy, enclosed tree house with two sturdy ladders, with deep and generous steps.
  5. Basketball hoops, small softball diamond, badmitten net, crochet sets.
  6. Moveable play house.
  7. Vegetable garden and strawberry patch.
  8. Fruit trees and berry bushes: apple, peach, apricot; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry.
  9. Grape arbor.
  10. Two large plastic wading pools and long garden hose for hot days of summer.
  11. Small wagons, carts, tricycles, 2-wheel bikes.
  12. Two sandboxes.
  13. Games and more games.
  14. Boys and girls toy chests and stuffed animal baskets.

 

Oh, did I mention food? Sandwiches (your choice of filling and bread-spread); veggie sticks, homemade cookies, juices.

 

Of course, “Palmer’s” best amenity was Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. The adopted grandparents that every child would dream up for himself or herself.

 

The biggest treat was staying over night. My sister and I got to do that only four or five times. Usually, while our parents attended a special Saturday evening function, in the community or in Chicago.

What was so great about a sleep-over?

 

Saturday nights were party time at the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

  1. Walt Disney movies, board games, card games, floor games.
  2. Huge bowls of freshly-popped corn setting on every table.
  3. Choices of fruit juices and Kool Aid flavors.
  4. Home-made Kool-Aid Popsicles.
  5. Ice cream and cake or cookies to celebrate a child guest’s birthday.
  6. Cozy-like, dorm-style sleeping space – including a doll or teddy bear if you needed one.
  7. Pals – other guests – to play with.
  8. Lots of arts and crafts supplies to make things to take home.

 

One Saturday afternoon, Mr. Palmer wanted to talk with my dad when he dropped off my sister and me. Mr. Palmer asked Dad to come by at a later date, and give him an estimate on painting the exterior of that huge house.

 

My dad offered to volunteer a paint crew to do the job. The terms: Mr. Palmer would purchase the main paint supplies. And, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer would feed the crew some lunch on paint day.

 

The date was scheduled. I got to go along and “carry water” to the men. We all ate lunch at the picnic tables where we children ate our snacks when we were “visiting.”

 

Silently, I promised that, once I could drive, I’d go by The Palmer’s Hotel and volunteer to help out with their young guests. (I did several times.)

 

Silently, I promised that, when grown up, I’d go by and volunteer my adult skills to help out once in a while. (I did once.)

 

Eventually, I entered the IBPAT apprenticeship program, and began my painting career. I promised that I’d go by and volunteer my painting skills and crew to repaint the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

It was that great of a place. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were that great of a couple. Final Note: By the time I started painting for a contractor, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had closed down their hotel for children. And, they had retired.

 

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All grown up now? Who can you help that enriched your life as a child?

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” today.
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Upgrading Your Skills in the 21st Century

Work orders come and go, and come again. Projects vary by size, complexity, surface/area, and time constraints. Some come along periodically, once or twice a year, every few years, or only once.

 

Whether you’re a hotel or facility painter, you’ll need to keep on your toes. Ready to do what’s necessary in a reasonably prompt, professional and timely manner. Consistent in your techniques and outcomes, even when a high degree of creativity and flexibility are required.

 

Have you ever had a problem prioritizing, then scheduling, and eventually following through on certain work orders and projects? Whether the glitch was self-induced, or caused by outside forces? Examples: hotel’s/facility’s chief engineer, or general manager.

 

Here’s where experience can be a great coach, and mentor. We learn by handling the same or similar work orders repeatedly. We learn by facing the same or similar situation more than once.

 

When your experience needs a boost… when your repertoire of effective techniques, products/materials, supplies, and tools needs to be expanded, try these quick tips.

 
1. Tweak one of your standard techniques, products, supplies, and/or tools. WHY? You know that its basic elements work; so draw on that foundation of success.

 

2. Tap the experience of a pro in handling that type of work order or project. Examples: Online tutorials and sources, paint store consultants, fellow union/association members, related manufacturers.

WHY? It’s very possible that he or she has been there and done that. Some of the bumps that you’re facing have been worked out already.

 

3. Ask your chief engineer. WHY? He or she is there to keep things running smoothly, and cost-effectively. Probably, he or she has dealt with the situation before, though it’s new here. No doubt that he or she gets the connection between your doing a good job, and his or her ability to keep things humming. And your boss will want to add some wisdom to your mix.

 

4. “Google” the problem, in the form of a brief question or phrase. WHY? You may be amazed how many other painters have faced the same challenge, and found doable answers via their extended internet network.

 

5. Step out. Stretch your innovative, gutsy soul. Kindle or rekindle that pioneer spirit that may not have gotten much of a chance, in the past, to spread its wings. WHY? That’s how you become an expert yourself. A go-to guru!

 

Painting at the hotel often called upon skills and abilities that I did not know that I had. Untapped talents and resources that fit the need perfectly. Or surprisingly close. Whether facing a new or reconfigured work order, project, or troubleshooting problem.

Often, it was those challenges – those questions and uncertainties – that made the job come alive.

 

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New experience builds a foundation for great experience.

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Thanks, everyone, for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

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

More Custom Carriers for Painter’s Tools

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Paintshop: Hotel and Facility Painters “Do Other Things”

Hotel and facility painters must be willing – and able – “to do other things.” In fact, it is a requirement listed in most job descriptions. Including the U. S. Department of Labor Directory of Occupations.

 

 Hotel Painter’s Short List of “Other Things to Do”

(Eg. Hotels, resorts, vacation spas, convention centers)

 

  1. Help clear out and clean up critical incident scenes and accident areas.
  2. Decorate property for holidays and special events.
  3. Clean and replace HVAC systems; make minor repairs to room A/C units, repair filters.
  4. Replace acoustical ceiling tiles, panels and grid frames; repair walls; replace doors, trims, baseboards.
  5. Dig, lay and bury underground WI-FI cable systems; replace modem units.
  6. Repair, or remove and replace pipes, plumbing, also lavatory parts; clear clogged drains.
  7. Repair, or remove and replace ceramic, glass, quarry, and other tiles.
  8. Cut out, remove and replace carpet sections and tiles.
  9. Remove and replace bath/shower/tub fixtures, safety bars/rails, etc.
  10. Repair, resurface or replace furniture, cabinetry, countertops; also vanities.
  11. Treat toxic black mold infestations; spray chemical pest control solutions.
  12. Replace light bulbs, lighting and illumination fixtures and systems – interior/exterior.
  13. Repair, or remove and replace door key card systems.
  14. Patch/repair, or remove and replace swimming pool skirt tiles.
  15. Perform landscape work; replace mulch, chips, edgings, stones, etc.
  16. Repair, or replace wood decking, steps, rails, banisters, seating, signage.
  17. Repair, or replace roof tiles, shingles; also building fascia, gutters, downspouts, etc.
  18. Repair, or replace landscaping brick, stone; also walkways.
  19. Pressure wash sidewalks, also exterior corridor areas, walls, fencing, etc.
  20. Help repair, or replace any mechanical systems on property.

 

Facility Painter’s Short List of “Other Things to Do”

(Eg. Hospitals, ALFs; corporate headquarters, government properties, universities, malls.)

 

  1. Replace ceramic floor tiles and trim.
  2. Replace acoustical ceiling tiles, also panels and gridwork.
  3. Repair walls; replace baseboards, trim, doors and frames, etc.
  4. Lubricate door locks and hinges.
  5. Replace air conditioner filters
  6. Repair carpeting and carpet tiles.
  7. Caulk restroom areas.
  8. Repair water damaged ceilings, walls, etc.
  9. Clean glass.
  10. Clean A/C units; make minor repairs to HVAC systems.
  11. Replace light bulbs, fixtures, interior/exterior illumination systems, etc.
  12. Repair, or replace cabinetry, countertops, shelving units, etc.

 

BOTTOM LINE: As a hotel or facility painter, you want to be prepared to step in and resolve either physical or aesthetic problems in any interior or exterior area on the property.

 

Also, you want to feel comfortable using whatever products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment that are needed to get the job done right. Also, promptly and cost-effectively.

 

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Often, persons are judged by the “other things” they do, not only by doing their job as described.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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