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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.

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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.

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 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.

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