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Archive for the ‘Safety and Health Issues’ Category

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.

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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.

Painter’s World: Supporting Your Spine

A painter’s most essential physical asset is his or her spinal column. It serves as the main support for all activities. Examples: Standing, walking, climbing; lifting, carrying, loading, unloading; moving, pushing, pulling; bending, kneeling, crouching; sitting, lying.

 

Ways to protect and strengthen your “painter spine”

 

  1. At work, wear a non-roll back support under your uniform or work clothing.
  2. Wear shoes or boots that fit each foot, and leave toe-room when you’re standing, or walking; also that support every part of your feet, also your ankles and shins.
  3. Minimize use of heavy, cumbersome footwear that limits circulation, dissipation of moisture and sweating, and mobility and balance.
  4. Minimize use of shoes and slippers with little or no support for the sides and back of each foot.
  5. Use ergonomic chairs or similar seating at work, and elsewhere.
  6. Minimize use of soft/cushiony seating – work, home, vehicle, etc.
  7. Alternate your arms when grabbing, lifting, carrying, and moving 5-gallon paint buckets, or any other item requiring only one hand.
  8. Alternate legs used to lead out when stepping out, stepping up, bending at knees, etc.
  9. Vary extensions or stretches of legs when walking, carrying or moving.
  10. When climbing ladders, maintain as straight or upright posture as possible.
  11. Suck in or contract stomach muscles to help maintain spinal disc alignment in your spinal column.
  12. When bending, kneeling, crouching, etc., try not to round the shoulders, hunch over, “roll” your shoulders inward.
  13. Try to keep shoulders and cervical spine line relaxed.
  14. Stand tall when pushing or pulling things – e.g. a service cart.
  15. Maintain a straight posture when driving your golf cart.

 

Exercises that can help strengthen and support your “painter spine”

1. Exercises you can do every day.

A. Brisk 30-minute walk, wearing a soft back brace.

B. Leisure walk at a moderate pace.

C. Floor stretches, lying flat with arms at your sides or stretched outward.

D. Gentle stomach crunches, lying flat and nudging spine to floor.

E. Slow foot and leg raises, done lying on your stomach, on flat surface.

— Raising one foot and leg at a time, then lowering back to the floor.

— Later, raising both feet and legs at the same time, then lowering back to the floor. TIP: Avoid strain and force. STOP if you have any back, hip or leg pain.

F. Leg raises, done lying on floor and using slow, smooth movements.

 

2. Exercises two-three times a week.

A. Deep-lung breathing, lying flat on floor, arms at your sides, eyes on the ceiling. Note: Excellent way to relax entire spine, and body, after physically strenuous day.

B. Wall-hugs, done standing and pushing entire form against wall. Tip: do without shoes.

C. Duo-leg raises, lying flat, breathing deep. Note: Can even out breathing and relax leg muscles.

D. Rib cage-lung deep breathing, done standing straight, exhaling while pushing rib cage/lungs outward. Note: Can restore breathing rhythm after working with contaminants in poorly-ventilated area.

E. Vertical stretches, raising arms above head and breathing deeply, slowly exhaling as arms lowered to front of body.

F. Moves that promote diaphragm breathing, and also regulate breathing.

G. Moves that realign and relax upper and lower limbs simultaneously.

 

3. Exercises you can sneak in wherever you are

A. Standing in line: relaxing one leg at a time, and rotating foot at ankle.

B. Standing: rising on toes, then lowering back to floor/ground.

C. Standing: stretching one leg at a time behind you, then back to normal position.

D. Standing: switching weight back and forth from side-to-side.

 

The whole idea is to turn spinal exercises into maneuvers that stretch then relax muscles, joints and tendons. No strain, no pain.

 

If you already have spinal cord injuries and damage, you want to prevent further damage. You need to reduce the risk of more pain and damage. Yet you want to maximize the attributes your spine still has.

 

If, like mine, your spinal cord is in good shape, you want to keep it that way as long as you can.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above suggestions are only that. If you have any health issue, first consult with your physician before even trying these exercises. The spinal column is related, one way or another, to the rest of the body. So, cover your bases. Make certain that exercises are safe for your spine – and body as a whole.

 

Closing thought: I’d rather have a spine weakened by a strong work ethic, and years of first-rate service, than a spine that never learned its worth.

 

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Many thanks for maintaining high work standards, while protecting your spine.

 

Copyright May 29, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Painting in Bad Weather

Heat/humidity. Full sun. Mist/rain/fog. Smog. Dust/dirt. Wind/whirlwinds. Arctic blasts. Cold/frost/ice. Sleet.

 

You know the policy: Paint until you can’t get anything done. Then try to paint anyway.

 

You’ve heard it before:

 

“You can’t let a little bad weather stop you.”

 

“A little rain or wind never hurt anyone.”

 

“Do it anyway.”

 

“Figure it out.”

 

“Just get it done. Now!”

 

Fourteen Tips for Painting in Bad Weather

 

  1. What’s the job? And what do you need to get it done?
  2. Assess your situation and the scene, relative to the project.
  3. How bad are the weather conditions?
  4. Do a last-minute check of the weather.
  5. What can you take care of while waiting for the bad weather to calm down, or clear up?
  6. Who has the final say whether you (a) hold off and reschedule, (b) wait a while, or, (c) do it anyway?
  7. Will you actually save time, money and manpower by holding off till the afternoon, or the next day? Or even later?
  8. Which way will your quality still be there?
  9. What can you do to make things work, even in the bad weather?

A. Can you paint less exposed surfaces and areas first.

B. Or, can you prep and paint sunny, less windy, less affected areas first?

SPECIAL TIPS: Remove all ice, water, rust, etc. from the surface to be painted. Make sure the surface is completely dry and smooth before painting. Use fast-drying primers and top coats; they are less affected by changes in the weather.

10. What can you do to protect you and your crew?

A. Can you partially tent or tarp the work area to cut out exposure to the elements – eg. wind, drizzle, snow, cold?

B. Allow enough air to circulate for the painted surface to dry.

11. What can you do to protect the crew from unhealthy and unsafe over-exposure?

SPECIAL TIPS: Dress for the conditions: warm coat, hat, work gloves, insulated boots. As soon as possible, invest in some waterproof apparel.

12. When is it time to call it quits? NOTE: Continuous high winds combined with rain do not a good paint job make.

13. What tasks are simply too dangerous in this bad weather? Example: Strong wind gusts are moving the extension ladders around, and pulling at the men’s clothing.

14. Is the painting project more important than following your instinct to just respect the bad weather? And try later?

INDUSTRIAL PAINTER TIP: Exterior painting can always be done, if you can isolate the work from the weather.

 

Bottom line: In bad weather conditions, health and safety must come first. No painting task nor project is worth a dollar if it costs anyone an injury, a serious illness, or worse.

 

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Make every job site a “safe-weather situation” for your crew and you.

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Start your year on a safe footing. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 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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