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):
- Fall protection, construction industry – 29 CFR 1926.501)
- Hazard communication standard, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.1200
- Scaffolding, general requirements, construction – 29 CFR 1926.451
- Respiratory protection, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.134
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry – 29 CFR 1910.147
- Ladders, construction – 29 CFR 1926.1053
- Powered industrial trucks, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.178
- Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements – 29 CFR 1910.212]
- Fall Protection–Training Requirements – 29 CFR 1926.503
- 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
- Keep alert for signs of unsafe and unhealthy conditions, hazards, etc.
- Be your own best self-advocate for a safe and healthy workplace environment.
- Promptly report potential problems to your supervisor, contractor, project manager, property owner.
- 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!
Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.