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Archive for the ‘TEAMS’ Category

Cocoa Beach Hotel Faces Changes Head On

In March, a hotel GM in Cocoa Beach invited me to stay there for several days. It was the idea of the property management company that had contacted me, way back in 2013, about a position.

 

“Pack a clean set of whites,” had been added at the end of the email. Curious. I did as requested, and headed for the ocean.

 

For the next three days, the hotel’s painter and management company regional director of operations led me around the property. They pointed out surfaces that needed work. They walked me through areas they wanted to improve. They showed me themes and color schemes that the owners wanted to change. And, they made lots of notes on their iPads.

 

The fourth day, we revisited some of those areas. Then, we sat at a small shaded table, and went over the men’s notes. By that time, typed into a hard copy for each of us.

 

Usually, that’s when “the best laid plan hits the fan” (my paraphrase). What the budget can bear differs a lot from the combined needs and wish lists. And, available time and manpower.

 

Not in this case. Everyone at the decision table has been motivated – and ready to move.

 

For example: Here’s what has happened within the last month and a half.

 

  1. A local general contractor was hired to repair and upgrade guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, game room, health club, children’s playground, and part of the conference center.

 

  1. A specialty contractor has signed on to remodel the main kitchen, and public restrooms.

 

  1. The GM has been authorized to add three people to the engineering staff for two full years.

All three will start work August 01, 2017. Each will handle specific aspects of the property upgrade.

 

  1. Grounds-landscaping specialist – Redesign and re-landscape the front entrance, nature sanctuary, rest, and walkway areas.
  2. HVAC and OSHA specialist – Handle vent system cleaning, filter installation, room thermostat replacements, bathroom fan/ventilation system cleaning and repairs.
  3. Painter – Prepping and repainting all areas designated on the improvement list.

 

Each of the three new engineering employees worked previously at, or on, the hotel property.

 

Each is a certified specialist in his or her trade.

 

Each is proficient in English and Spanish. One also speaks and writes Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Each is related to a current hotel staff member.

 

Few engineering departments are able to gain three additional workers at once. Fewer have the luxury to employ three specialists at once.

 

It is done more readily in other parts of the U. S. It can be done when both the hotel management and owners are operating on the same wave length. At the same time.

 

An exciting thing to see in action – to be a part of – when it happens.

 

 

“Together… making a place for the human spirit to find ease, if only for one night’s stay…”

 From: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Copyright 2015.

 

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As always! Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Paintshop and Management: Transparency and Accountability

The terms “transparency” and “accountability” are used in every trade and industry, including government and not-for-profits. Together, also sometimes synonymously.

 

What do transparency and accountability mean, in relation to the painting and decorating trade?

 

Transparency: Painter demonstrates a clear, honest and understandable picture of his or her, as well as others’, decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

Accountability: Painter becomes answerable and takes responsibility for his or her, and/or others’ decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

How can transparency and accountability work in the painting and decorating trade?

 

Problem/Situation: Yellow paint used for “No Parking” and “Yield” lines faded, wore off fast.

Transparency: Painter shows management the difference in composition and durability between paint product supplied, and the product recommended for high-traffic exterior surface.

Accountability: Painter takes share of painter-supervisor-management group’s responsibility for approving, ordering and using less durable and low-cost paint product.

 

Problem/Situation: Re-touched up others’ surface touch-ups, still left paint color differences.

Transparency: Painter shows G.M. how budget and time crunch drove decision to re-touch up small area versus repainting entire wall or room.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for completing work order that way, knowing results and need to still repaint wall or room as soon as possible.

 

Problem/Situation: Repainted entire wall after bleach clean-up of major Black mold fungi buildup, costing more than touching up immediate surface.

Transparency: Painter shows Housekeeping Director and G.M. why repainting wall was necessary and explains why it may be needed again in near future.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for own and supervisor’s decision to repaint area as soon as possible, and to help get guest room back into circulation.

 

Problem/Situation: Painted office walls stripped of wallcovering and heavily infested with Toxic Black Mold Fungi.

Transparency: Painter shows management why applying paint vs. wallcovering is safer, healthier.

Accountability: Painter assumes responsibility for tone-down appearance; offers to add border.

 

Problem/Situation: Caulked, repainted lobby’s slylight area vs. touching up water leak spots.

Transparency: Painter shows management that treatment plan protected area. Also, how it “bought” them little more time before major repairs and reconstruction would be needed.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility caulking and repainting jobs temporary, visible fixes.

 

Problem/Situation: Declined “quick-fix” project to repaint all exterior guest room doors.

Transparency: Painter showed management dire need, and wise move, to properly prep, fill cracks, sand, and prime area before applying finish coat.

Accountability: Painter shared responsibility for appearance of doors, if repainted with minor prep work.

 

Problem/Situation: Discreetly inspected major wall damage, and advised extended-stay family of guests in suite before notifying managers.

Transparency: Painter explains to guest that damage must be reported before repairs could be done. Reported damages, situation to managers; suggested creative solution for repairing area.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for inspection and assessment before reporting problem. Takes responsibility for proposing that guest help make repairs to save everyone money and face.

 

Problem/Situation: Completed priority-scheduled project late, delayed by manager’s switching painter to handle unscheduled, extra project.

Transparency: Painter shows managers how delays impacted completion of priority project, before arrival of large group of guests.

Accountability: Painter assumes share of responsibility for non-completion of project in time, also for not holding firm to shared goal of General management-Engineering/Paintshop-Housekeeping.

 

Tips on how to look at any problem or situation

 

  1. It falls within the painter’s/paintshop’s scope of expertise, abilities, resources, responsibility.
  2. It has a solution. * So let’s find out what that is
  3. Let’s take care of it, the best we can with what we have to work with.
  4. Do it for the people. Do it for the place. Do it for the community.

 

Tips on how to look at Transparency and Accountability

 

  1. In the short-run or long-run, honesty is the best policy – and the easiest to justify.
  2. The obvious will always shine through, one way or another, eventually.
  3. It’s easy to understand what’s true, and to see through the rest.
  4. Self-responsibility is the trademark of a good human being.

 

A Painter’s work life is full of tests. Beyond skill, ability, knowledge, and adeptness.

 

Among them are tests that measure:

 

  1. His/her character, sense of ethics and philosophy of living.
  2. His/her loyalty to the painting trade and construction industry; the employer, manager, team.
  3. His/her commitment to the organization, and the business.
  4. His/her respect for and appreciation of everyone served by that organization – eg. guests.
  5. His/her collaborative spirit toward everyone with whom the business deals.
  6. His/her self-responsibility toward the organization’s role in the community at large.

 

A painter’s willingness to be transparent and accountable is a central key to professional and personal success, fulfillment and longevity!

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Thank you to every painter that tries to live and work a self-responsible life.

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Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2015, 2017. 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.

Heat Illness: Preparing-for-Prevention Tips for Painters: Part II

As painters and decorators, we are our own best advocates in preventing heat illness on the job. We must play an active role in the protection of our own health. We cannot leave the responsibility to our employers.

 

In fact, both OSHA and EPA limit the employer’s level of responsibility. Employers tend to make these work-related choices, and provide preventive measures at their discretion.

 

Now – the cooler months – is the time to come up with a plan to prevent and treat on-the-job heat illness symptoms.

 

Now is the time to determine how we will handle our workload during the sustaining hot and humid months/season. Especially in climates like Florida has from May through October.

 

NOW is the time to get the facts out about heat illness.

 

  1. Talk about it: types, symptoms, risks and warning signs, safety issues.
  2. Publicize it.
  3. Orient everyone on the team and staff about what to look for.
  4. Train team members and staff what to do, when, and how.
  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/indirect)?

B. What is your exertion limits within that tolerance level?

2. Know your work environment.

A. What is the highest temperatures 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 – with the heat index added?

C. What us the longest period of time during a work day, that you must work continuously in that actual temperature?

D. How many days during a week must you work continuously in those actual conditions?

E. What is the level of clean-air and ventilation within your work area(s) on a continual basis?

3. Know your job’s physical demands.

A. How many hours in a day must you work in hot, humid conditions? Number of days a week?

B. At how fast of a pace must you do your work? Very slow? Slow? Moderate? Fast? Very fast?

C. For how long a period must you keep up that pace? _____ minutes. _____ hours?

D. How many breaks do you get, ordinarily, each of these days?

1) At what times during the work day are the breaks scheduled?

2) How many additional breaks are you allowed during work days in hot, humid conditions?

3) How often can you take a break when heat and humidity conditions meet or exceed your tolerance level. (See 1 and 2 above.)

4. Know your physical limits in meeting the physical demands.

A. How many pounds can you lift, carry or move, ordinarily and at once?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum number of pounds? Without symptoms.

2) With B, do you need to use a cart or other conveyance piece of equipment?

B. How long can you climb and stand on a ladder?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum length of time? Without any symptoms

C. How long and often can you bend, stoop or crouch within one hour?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest that you can do these? Without symptoms.

D. How long can you stand and how far can you walk without resting? Holding/carrying anything that weighs your maximum poundage? (See 4-A above.)

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest period and furthest distance that you can do these? Without any symptoms.

5. Know what your first heat illness symptoms may be.

A. What have been your first heat illness symptoms in the past?

B. What, if any, medical conditions that you have could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms?

C. What, if any, medications that you take 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 any heat-humidity-ventilation environmental conditions?

  1. Avoid them. Work in cooler, shaded areas when above conditions do exist in other areas.
  2. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any situation that might cause, trigger and/or exacerbate your heat illness susceptibility.

 

SPECIAL LIFE-SAVING HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION TIPS

 

  1. Schedule exterior painting during the coolest times of your work day. Examples: A. Dawn-to-10 AM. B. 5 PM-to-dusk or dark, or later.
  2. Plan to work on surfaces/areas opposite full-sun exposure. Examples: A. West and north sides of buildings when sun is over east and south sides.
  3. East and south sides of buildings when sun is on west and north sides.
  4. Plan to work in hot, humid areas when an emergency comes up. NOTE: Ordinarily, there are times when exterior painting must be done immediately.
  5. Wear short, white painter’s pants when you must work in outdoor temperatures 90 plus degrees. Regardless of the time period involved. NOTE: Get approval before the hot season arrives to adjust clothing to fit extreme heat/humidity conditions.
  6. Wear a cap or hat with a bill, when working and/or walking in the sun. TIP: Wider is wiser.
  7. Keep a drinking water supply with you at all times.
  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 golfcart or pushcart. While you’re at it, stick in a couple small cans of healthy juice. Examples: V-8, orange, apple. TIP: Pack a banana, too. High in potassium. Essential for sodium/hydration leveling.

 

BOTTOM LINE: The painter on duty must get his/her work done. One way or another. So watch out for yourself when the heat and humidity start to climb. And, set the standard for others to do the same.

 

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Learn and Live “Heat Illness” Free. Go to: www.osha.gov/heatillness.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Keeping Your Painter’s Brain Alive and Fit*

Ever hear of “Neurobics”?

 

I hadn’t either until someone gave me the book, Keep Your Brain Alive, by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D.* and Manning Rubin.* Published in 1999, the small book offers “83 Neurobic Exercises to help prevent memory loss and increase mental fitness.”

 

WHAT IS NEUROBICS?

 

Neurobics is a form of brain exercise that breaks your brain’s normal patterns of activity. Its aim: to enhance the brain’s natural way of forming associations. And, that’s basically how we learn.

 

WHAT CONDITIONS MAKE AN EXERCISE NEUROBIC?

 

  1. It uses one or more physical senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, plus emotional “sense” in novel ways and different combinations.
  2. It engages your attention in a way that gets your attention.
  3. It breaks a routine activity in a non-routine or unexpected way.

 

TWELVE NEUROBIC EXERCISES ADAPTED TO OUR PAINTER’S WORLD

 

I’ve adapted these exercises from three activity areas covered in Katz’s and Rubin’s book.

 

Starting and ending the day

 

  1. Eat something different for breakfast.
  2. Brush your teeth using your non-dominant hand.
  3. Close your eyes and use sense of touch to choose what you’ll wear.
  4. Wear earplugs at dinner and listen with your eyes to your spouse.

 

Commuting

 

  1. If you drive to work, close your eyes, then get in and start your vehicle.
  2. Buy several inexpensive steering wheel covers in different textures, and switch.
  3. Open the window while driving so you can smell, hear and feel a mental road map.
  4. If you walk to work, take a few different turns. Or, say “hello” to 2-3 new people.

 

At Work

 

  1. Move things around – reposition your computer mouse, phone, a few basic tools.
  2. Brush or roll on paint, using your non-dominant hand.
  3. Write down a problem. In two columns, write words associated with it; cross-reference.
  4. In the paintshop, keep a chessboard set up, or a 500-1000 pieces jigsaw puzzle in process.

 

FUN TIP: Once a month, switch a smaller, simpler task with a coworker, even your boss.
* Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., (1956-2005) was professor of neurobiology, Duke University Medical School. * Manning Rubin comes from a long line of prolific writers, and was senior creative supervisor at K2 Design, New York City, New York. (Tip: Check Manning out if you’re interested in creative writing, professionally.)

 

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Think About It: Your brain is like any other organ in your body.

Exception: It controls everything within your body. Treat it right, friends.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel/Facility Painters: Is Outsourcing Your Paintshop Services in Your Future?

It should come as no surprise to any hotel/resort staff member, when the news arrives that the management and operations of a certain department will be outsourced.

 

Other mid-to-large sized for-profit employers have been farming or “outsourcing” for needed services for years. More and more local, county and state governments have been contracting out for the management and operation of entities under their umbrella.

 

What throws a hard, curve ball is when the outsourcing company is going to move in its own people to staff that department, which is a part of the organization. EXAMPLES: Food and Beverage/Catering, Pools and Gazebos, Housekeeping/Laundry, Security, Sales, Conventions.

 

With a large department, the outsourcing company may opt to employ certain existing hotel staff members. Persons experienced working in that area, and with its targeted guests and visitors.

 

Usually, these persons need to complete new, pre-employment forms for the external company. Including for federal and state tax withholdings. Usually, the persons do not need to go through the hotel’s Human Resources’ job application and screening process.

 

So far, hotel engineering departments have been exempted from the contracted outsourcing system of employment. Some exceptions exist.

 

  1. The property owners decide to outsource the management and operations of the entire hotel business. Here, existing staff can sign on with the external company, or a designated staffing company.

 

  1. The outsourcing company “out-sources” the hotel’s engineering department services.

Note: Designated staff members may be able to apply to the outside company, to continue to work at the same hotel.

 

  1. The outsourcing company decides to switch engineering operations to a temporary and on-call arrangement. For all positions and tasks, or for certain positions and tasks.

Note: Usually, some of the current engineering staff members are offered the opportunity to work in his/her current – or a similar – position, but as a temporary or on-call worker.

 

In all cases, some positions are eliminated. Some job quotas are reduced. A lot of department re-organization takes place.

 

In smaller businesses – eg. hotels and inns, clinics, hospitals – the services of a full-time painter may not be needed any longer. They may not be affordable. Within the budget.

 

Thus, the career hotel/facility painter needs to be ready to adapt. And, to switch “employers,” if and when the time comes.

 

At the same time, take note!

 

Not all outsourcing arrangements work. Many get axed at some point. Department management and operations are returned to in-house people. Former staff members may be re-hired. Experienced employees are put back in charge of operating their respective department.

 

After reasonable tries, more city and county governments are voting against renewing their contracts with outsourcing companies. Businesses are tightening up qualifications and expectations for their outsourcing contractors. They are more closely, and accurately, computing the bottom line.

  1. “Are we really saving money? “
  2. “What’s the trade-off been within – and for – our community?”

Hotels and resorts are listening to their experienced staff members, about major organizational and ethical problems dealing with the outsource company’s people. Hospitals report losing once loyal employees and community support. Also they report an increase in serious liability quality-of-service and patient treatment issues.

 

What can a hotel painter do to influence top management and owners in deciding which way to go?

 

  1. Show a greater and more sincere interest in your hotel, and especially in your teammates. What’s really going on with them? What’s great, so-so, not good at all? Share in any on-going dialogue among your coworkers. Your bosses, too. TIP: Hold back a little here. Keep “person,” “personal,” and “personality” out of this.
  2. Show an interest in the “outsourcing” discussion. Periodically, exchange a few ideas with your chief engineer. Especially, if you’re the lead painter and help him handle a lot of the troubleshooting.
  3. Discreetly ask questions. Try to find out the reasons management is looking at outsourcing your job. Or, the entire engineering department.

 

THEN, ZERO IN ON YOUR POSITION…YOUR FUTURE.

 

  1. Update the hotel’s job description for your job. Provide a clear, detailed picture of exactly what you do there. Include both standard and special skills and abilities that your hotel’s painter must have. To get the job done! NOTE: Now is not the time to underestimate and undervalue what the real job entails. Now is not the time for humility.
  2. List the types of tasks, orders, projects, and emergency jobs you have done. Estimate the frequency with which you’ve done each. Indicate the location of each on the property. TIP: Keep your own on-site painter’s photo gallery up to date, and captioned!
  3. List the customer service functions you perform. That includes for team members, fellow staff members, managers; guests, visitors; suppliers, vendors, contractors; inspectors; and the community.
  4. Offer your experience and insight as input to the (a) chief engineer and (b) general manager. Limit what you offer in information to details that will positively support your bosses’ true position. Also, their short-range and long-range goals.

 

Final Note: As the staff painter, you are often in a unique and influential position. You tend to come into regular contact with coworkers and managers in many of the departments and work areas within the hotel’s organization. You tend to “brush shoulders” with certain aspects of the hotel or facility’s actual business.

 

Bottom Line: You may be able to play a key role in management’s decision to outsource. Or not.

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“Press toward the mark that you want to leave behind.”  RDH

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2012, 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Methods: Adapting FOR the Environment

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out, and the air is dry and moderately cool.

 

On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.

 

Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.

 

The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.

 

TIPS FOR ADAPTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently. Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.
  2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus. TIP: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, it is not possible.
  3. Minimize or adapt to toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.

 

Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.

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Everyone in a painter’s work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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