Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

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.

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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.

We’ve covered toxic black mold – Stachybotrys chartarum – every year since this blog started. So, what else can be said about it? Quite a lot, it turns out.

 

TAKING TOXIC MOLD SPORES WITH YOU

 

Example: Math and science journalist Julie Rehmeyer,* 40, took along personal possessions when she moved (twice) from “a pair of ramshackle travel trailers,” outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. She noticed severe muscle and tendon pain, cognitive brain storms, worsened partial paralysis, extreme fatigue, etc.

 

She started to improve, only when she eventually moved, in early 2012, to the desert (Death Valley), and took “none” of her “own belongings.” Her limbs, tendons and joints functioned. Breathing slowed. Her hazy eye focus diminished. Most important, she learned to detect mold presence, based on bodily responses, and to avoid it in the future.

 

* Through the Shadowlands by Julie Reymeyer, copyright 2017, New York: Rodale Publishing Company. (Note: Reymeyer’s experiences with black mold were brought to my attention by relatives that read “Lost And Found,” in O The Magazine, June 2017, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 103.)

 

Example: Hotel bookings/sales director Dana B (not real name), noticed worsening asthma symptoms, when driving home from work and later at home. When she was removing work-day clothing and putting them into the hamper, getting something from her handbag, even changing from her high heels to athletic shoes.

 

Her only solutions, except to change her workplace, were to run the A/C in the vehicle and at home; launder clothes with “green,” environmentally  safe soap and softener; never use any grooming or makeup products/containers used at work; etc. (To my knowledge, “Dana” never really made the connection between her workplace and after-work symptoms.)

 

Example: Florida painting contractor Luis R. noticed that he was experiencing hives and rashes; shortness of breath; red, burning eyes; extreme fatigue; etc. This was happening every evening, by the time he got home from a major restoration project in South Florida. The symptoms at home sometimes worsened when he was doing paperwork and using his work laptop. For instance, his fingers itched and he sneezed incessantly. Then, when climbing back into his double-cab truck the next morning to head out, the backs of his knees and upper calves started to itch and burn.

 

A close examination, with a powerful magnifying glass, detected tiny black spores all over his truck, on file folders, on parts of his computer, on all three pairs of work boots, and, on his thermal water jug and lunch carrier.

 

Example: Paul P. (not real name), president of a hotel management company, noticed that he would suffer worsening breathing problems after every visit to one of their client hotels located in Florida. Especially later at night, while preparing his report of the day’s activities. His wife, a former hospital director, suggested toxic mold. Spores that he may have, unknowingly, carried off of a worksite.

 

His symptoms improved after he put someone else in charge of handling that hotel, and making those site visits on a bi-weekly/monthly basis. (Note: Within two months, that worker started to experience problems with breathing, rashes, vision, and fevers.)

 

TIPS FOR PAINTERS IN “TOXIC BLACK MOLD and SPORES-PRONE” ZONES

 

  1. Be aware of the fact that you normally live in one of these zones. You are not visiting.
  2. Stay alert for symptoms, even minor changes in the way your body is behaving.
  3. Nip it in the bud. Check things out – eg. your different “space;,” clothing and shoes; gear, tools and equipment. Even your golfcart, service cart, paintshop/workshop.
  4. Promptly report any and all symptoms and body changes to your doctor.
  5. Get tested for toxic allergens, chemicals and hazardous materials by a board certified specialist, with extensive expertise in those areas.
  6. Become proactive and protective of your own health.

 

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Often, solutions to long-term problems are found in short-term actions. RDH

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Copyright April 10, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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.

Every day, a painter’s world includes opportunities to show his or her appreciation. To someone. For something.

 

Ten Acts of Appreciation a Hotel Painter Can Try

 

  1. Thank your teammates, supervisor, and other coworkers for their help, support, etc.
  2. Go easy on the teammate that goofed, again. Even if he or she could have prevented it.
  3. Hold the door open for a hotel guest trying to get moved into his or her room.
  4. Offer to hold something so a guest can strap his or her toddler into the safety car seat.
  5. Cut your chief engineer some slack. Tell him or her, “That’s okay. I can see that you’re under a lot of extra pressure right now…”
  6. Volunteer an extra pair of hands to a teammate, or staff member in another department.
  7. Offer that grumpier or aloof co-worker a way to talk to you without any explanation.
  8. Cover for a teammate when he or she needs to make a personal call during work time.
  9. Cut your co-workers some slack, especially when the work pressure is getting to them.
  10. Discreetly offer a “listening ear” to a co-worker whose mood/behavior/attitude has changed for some reason.

 

Ten Acts of Appreciation a Commercial-Industrial Painter Can Try

 

  1. Thank your fellow crew members for their efforts to bring in a project within constraints.
  2. Offer to cover for a co-worker who needs a little longer lunch or break time.
  3. Foreman: offer the worker, who is very pressured by personal responsibilities, the option to occasionally start work a little later. Or to leave a little earlier..
  4. Give the new guy a hand, or two. Even if he or she is experienced. Remember when you started out there?
  5. Cut that apprentice some slack. He or she is new to painting, and new to your company.
  6. Periodically, thank and visit your suppliers’ stores, shops, websites, LinkedIn.com, etc.
  7. Periodically connect with both your strong and less strong connections through social media. Acknowledge their recent accomplishments, or news. Thank them for any input they’ve given.
  8. On-site crew member: Loan a better paintbrush to a newer coworker, who might not yet own the size or type of brush needed to do the task.
  9. Thank and praise both long-standing and newer crew members. Especially when things have been going rough on the project, and/or for the company
  10. Thank your company’s office staff for making your job more doable. Please thank your foreman, superintendent/boss and company owner once periodically, too.

 

FOOTNOTE: I remember every person that has helped me, as a painter, to have a good day. Their smiles or laughs.  Their joking jabs. Their choices of words. Their handshakes. Their encouragement. The hands that they lent me. Their “training.” Their advice and constructive criticism. It all mattered to me. They all mattered to me.

 

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Showing appreciation works better when it’s sincere, spontaneous, and individualized.

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Behind “Painting with Bob” is a network of dedicated painters, professionals, friends, and editor.

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

We’ve all had them. Those annoying, little glitches in our regular schedules that can mess up everything.

 

Take the new compressor hose that kinks, and causes the paint spray to sputter and spurt out of the nozzle. Or the day-late shipment of a big order of industrial coating for pipes. Or when you’re short two crew members, because they called in sick on the same day. Or the blown tire on the equipment-loaded truck out on the freeway.

 

What do you do? How do you deal with this minor stuff, so that you can move on to the real jobs?

 

Speedy Solutions for Minor Snags

 

1. Kinking compressor hose

 

Cut the hose where kinked area exists. Fit a hose connector – brass or galvanized pipe, as available. Then clasp each side of the connection with the proper size of stainless steel pipe clamp. This will hold well, until you are able to change out a new hose.

 

2. Delayed shipment of paint

A. Put out an emergency call to the manufacturer’s rep for a small supply of product. Enough to get at least one day of spraying completed.

B. Call the manager of the paint manufacturer’s closest paint store. Explain the situation. Have them get on the horn and get some of the shipment to you pronto.

 

3. Manpower shortage on a rush job

A. Call your company superintendent. Ask him to switch two guys to your job site for two days – whatever length of time you need the extra help.

B. Shorthanded anyway? Call for two men through the local painter’s union.

C. Non-union shop? Call the nearest construction trades’ labor pool.

D. Switch tasks on the schedule, if possible.

 

4. Big flat tire on loaded equipment truck

A. Call the shop for someone to bring out a replacement tire. TIP: Before you call, make sure that you have the jack system on the truck.

B. Call the shop for someone to bring out another truck, and then help you transfer the load. TIPS: Don’t think about transferring equipment that requires more men than you have around. And, never try to transfer equipment that requires OTHER equipment to move, lift, and/or lower it.

C. Call a truck towing service.

D. Call a truck rental outfit for emergency delivery.

 

5. Running out of paint thinner on a remote industrial job site.

A. Call your shop foreman. Have someone grab a supply, and deliver it to you.

B. Call the nearest paint store for an emergency delivery.

C. Call the closest Home Depot, Lowes, etc. – wherever your company has an account. Purchase a day’s supply of thinner over the phone. If possible, send a worker to pick it up.

D. Hand some cash to your site crew’s “go-for” person – apprentice. And, send him or her to the nearest hardware store. TIP: Price will be higher than a trade-construction source.

 

NOTE: Once, we called the business agent at the union hall, and asked him to pick up eight gallons of thinner from the nearest Sherwin-Williams, on the way for his scheduled visit to our site. Our company president ordered the supply. S-W had the containers waiting at their back door.

 

6. Two spray guns malfunction at the same time.

 

SPRAYER’S TIP: In your truck, carry a replacement rebuild kit for each type of spray gun you use frequently. Also, keep a supply of replacement rebuild kits for each type in the paintshop.

A. Call the shop foreman for quick delivery of a replacement rebuild kit for each spray gun you are using on-site. Also ask for a box of extra repair parts.

B. Call the nearest paint tool and equipment outlet that you deal with. Ask for a rush delivery.

C. Call your company boss, and ask him or her to buy a new spray gun and deliver it.

D. Do a rush clean-out of one spray gun, to get it back on the job. At least for that day.

E. At day’s end, tear down both spray guns. And do a complete overhaul.

 

By the way, sometimes you don’t have the time or resources to deal with a minor snag in the usual, standard, or acceptable way. When that’s the case, just do what you need to do to get the job moving forward.

 

BOTTOM LINE: Whatever comes along and stands in you and your crew’s way of getting the job done, do the best you can do at the time – and with what you have. And sweat about any repercussion later.

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It can take more skill and savvy to deal with the minor snags than the major job or project.

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Thank you for clicking into “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Loss of property costs a business a lot of money. And, it can cost YOUR department more than it can afford. Thus, it’s essential to keep track of all losses and damages, even normal-use ones.

 

  1. Promptly document and report any loss or damage to your (1) supervisor and/or (2) company general manager/superintendent.
  2. Promptly document – keep a log – of any loss or damage that happens under your watch, or that you come upon that happened at another time.
  3. Report the loss or damage to your supervisor. Note: It is his or her job to determine which losses and/or damages should be reported to company management.
  4. Notify management when certain losses or damages occur repeatedly, and after you’ve already reported said incidences to your supervisor. Example: Losses of at least 8-five gallon buckets of new paint continued, for over five months after the foreman painter had repeatedly notified the project supervisor for the contractor for whom they both worked. So, the painter told the company’s superintendent that the losses of needed product continued.
  5. If you continue to suffer larger losses in the Paintshop, even after notification of management, ask your supervisor for a joint meeting with the general manager to discuss possible acceptable solutions.

Tread proactively and carefully when it comes to reporting possible internal, and possibly illegal, transport of products and materials.

Bottom line: Step up to the plate. Report losses and or damages as promptly as possible. And, do not be afraid to extend the reporting to higher-level managers when the standard chains-of-command reporting procedures are not working.

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Thanks for keeping on your toes. Even when it’s tough to do the right thing.

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“Painting with Bob” extends best wishes for your health, safety and prosperity in 2018.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

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