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Archive for the ‘Heat Illness’ Category

Call 911 First, Security Second. Override Policy.

Certain circumstances call for a staff member – eg. Painter – to phone 911 FAST! Then Security.

 
Some emergency situations on the job demand immediate action, whether the person is a teammate or manager, guest/visitor, vendor, or property’s owner. Your response must be quick, precise and necessary.

 

Call 911 or Chief of Security First. It’s Your Call – 11 Examples

 

  1. Trips, falls – especially involving blows to the head.
  2. Severe asthma attacks – clamped breathing.
  3. Adverse reactions to toxic exposure – lost vision, can’t breathe, immediate rash, swelling.
  4. Hazardous materials contact – eyes, skin, lungs.
  5. Stroke symptoms – face numb, speech slur, arm drop, lost balance, blurry vision, dizzy.
  6. Heart attack symptoms – chest/back/shoulder pain, dizziness, numbness, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea.
  7. Choking – Note: While waiting, Heimlich method may be wise action.
  8. Turning blue – any part of body. Also look for stopped breathing, numbness signs.
  9. Allergic reactions – Sudden swelling, rash, hives, clamped breathing.
  10. Paralysis, numbness, tingling – No time to hesitate!
  11. Heat illness symptoms – weakness, sweating, dizziness, dehydration, thirst, tremors.

 

Anyone who is experiencing any of the above symptoms, or any combination of them, requires immediate emergency help.

 

At least four times on the same job, I was in crisis. I suffered at least two of the above sets of symptoms. Other people were around in each instance. No one called 911. Care to guess what happened eventually?

 

3 REAL-LIFE COMPANY PAINTER CRISIS SITUATIONS

 

ONE. Joel was on the job less than a week. He’d moved to Florida to help care for his elderly parents. He noticed something wasn’t right the minute he removed the lid from a new gallon of paint. Sudden headache, problem breathing, burning eyes, itching skin.

 

“Latex is non-toxic,” he told himself.

 

When he got dizzy, he stumbled out of the hotel guest room. He yelled for help, and pushed the call button on the mobile. No one came.

 

TWO. Maria was considered one of the most fastidious housekeepers at the hotel. The director of her department had put her in charge of mold and mildew cleanups. She’d suffered mild mold fungi symptoms from Day 1 on the job, over 17 years ago.

 

Shortly after her fortieth birthday, she noticed the problems weren’t getting better. After every exposure to the mold, then the chlorine bleach cleaning agent, her eyes burned and wouldn’t focus. She experienced serious problems driving, reading, knitting, etc. Her chest muscles ached. She felt tired a lot. She developed skin rashes, even hives.

 

Less than one hour after clocking in one morning, she was washing walls down with bleach. She couldn’t get her breath. She got very dizzy, and started to pass out. She pushed her mobile phone button. No immediate response.

 

THREE. Curt dropped a box of full paint spray cans on his head. No big deal, he thought. He loaded up his golf cart, and sped toward the pool side gazebo, to get set up for the day. He felt a little weak, but got busy.

 

By 11:00 AM, he felt nauseous, light-headed, headach-y, and a strange pain around the neck. It was ninety degrees outdoors. He passed out. When he came to, three children stood over him. No one called for help. He got himself into an empty, air-conditioned guest room and spread out on a bed.

 

A “911” situation may not be that obvious at first. You may need to rely on your gut feeling, holler for help, then take a closer look for the other symptoms.

 

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The life you save may be very precious to someone else. Act! Don’t hesitate to help!

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Thank you for reading “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2017. 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.

HEAT ILLNESS: Preparing-for-Prevention Tips for Painters. Part I

“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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