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Posts tagged ‘environment’

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

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?

It uses one or more physical senses – seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, plus emotional “sense” in novel ways and different combinations.
It engages your attention in a way that gets your attention.
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

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

Commuting

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

At Work

Move things around – reposition your computer mouse, phone, a few basic tools.
Brush or roll on paint, using your non-dominant hand.
Write down a problem. In two columns, write words associated with it; cross-reference.
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.

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Call 911 First, Security Second. Override Policy.

Certain circumstances call for a staff member – eg. Painter – to phone 911 FAST! Then Security.

 
Some emergency situations on the job demand immediate action, whether the person is a teammate or manager, guest/visitor, vendor, or property’s owner. Your response must be quick, precise and necessary.

 

Call 911 or Chief of Security First. It’s Your Call – 11 Examples

 

  1. Trips, falls – especially involving blows to the head.
  2. Severe asthma attacks – clamped breathing.
  3. Adverse reactions to toxic exposure – lost vision, can’t breathe, immediate rash, swelling.
  4. Hazardous materials contact – eyes, skin, lungs.
  5. Stroke symptoms – face numb, speech slur, arm drop, lost balance, blurry vision, dizzy.
  6. Heart attack symptoms – chest/back/shoulder pain, dizziness, numbness, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea.
  7. Choking – Note: While waiting, Heimlich method may be wise action.
  8. Turning blue – any part of body. Also look for stopped breathing, numbness signs.
  9. Allergic reactions – Sudden swelling, rash, hives, clamped breathing.
  10. Paralysis, numbness, tingling – No time to hesitate!
  11. Heat illness symptoms – weakness, sweating, dizziness, dehydration, thirst, tremors.

 

Anyone who is experiencing any of the above symptoms, or any combination of them, requires immediate emergency help.

 

At least four times on the same job, I was in crisis. I suffered at least two of the above sets of symptoms. Other people were around in each instance. No one called 911. Care to guess what happened eventually?

 

3 REAL-LIFE COMPANY PAINTER CRISIS SITUATIONS

 

ONE. Joel was on the job less than a week. He’d moved to Florida to help care for his elderly parents. He noticed something wasn’t right the minute he removed the lid from a new gallon of paint. Sudden headache, problem breathing, burning eyes, itching skin.

 

“Latex is non-toxic,” he told himself.

 

When he got dizzy, he stumbled out of the hotel guest room. He yelled for help, and pushed the call button on the mobile. No one came.

 

TWO. Maria was considered one of the most fastidious housekeepers at the hotel. The director of her department had put her in charge of mold and mildew cleanups. She’d suffered mild mold fungi symptoms from Day 1 on the job, over 17 years ago.

 

Shortly after her fortieth birthday, she noticed the problems weren’t getting better. After every exposure to the mold, then the chlorine bleach cleaning agent, her eyes burned and wouldn’t focus. She experienced serious problems driving, reading, knitting, etc. Her chest muscles ached. She felt tired a lot. She developed skin rashes, even hives.

 

Less than one hour after clocking in one morning, she was washing walls down with bleach. She couldn’t get her breath. She got very dizzy, and started to pass out. She pushed her mobile phone button. No immediate response.

 

THREE. Curt dropped a box of full paint spray cans on his head. No big deal, he thought. He loaded up his golf cart, and sped toward the pool side gazebo, to get set up for the day. He felt a little weak, but got busy.

 

By 11:00 AM, he felt nauseous, light-headed, headach-y, and a strange pain around the neck. It was ninety degrees outdoors. He passed out. When he came to, three children stood over him. No one called for help. He got himself into an empty, air-conditioned guest room and spread out on a bed.

 

A “911” situation may not be that obvious at first. You may need to rely on your gut feeling, holler for help, then take a closer look for the other symptoms.

 

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The life you save may be very precious to someone else. Act! Don’t hesitate to help!

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Thank you for reading “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

Painter’s View: Covering Up Toxic Mold Infestation

In Florida, more than a few hotels have redecorated all or most of their guest rooms and public areas to cover up a deeper problem. Example: Black mold infestation – Stachybotyry’s chartarum.

 

They’ve spent a lot of money to install new carpeting and tile, furniture and fixtures, window treatments and textiles, AC window units, fresh coats of paint, etc.

 

But none of it will eradicate “sick building syndrome,” the underlying challenge.

 

Black mold and mildew behind the walls, above the ceilings, inside pipes and duct work, under floors, behind cabinetry, etc.

 

To get rid of “sick building” conditions – specifically toxic black mold, the structure’s interior must be gutted. The drywall in all infested rooms and areas must be removed. Plumbing and piping must be torn out. Wall, ceiling and floor joists must be taken out.

 

The entire area must be mitigated and remediated. Aired out, dried completely, and treated for hazardous chemicals and toxins.

 

Painters cannot do this. It’s a job for the professionals in toxic and hazardous materials handling. It is a big job. A labor-intensive job. A dangerous job.

 

Take note: If the actual infested surfaces and elements are not removed. Painters, and other staff members, working in redecorated guest rooms and public areas will still be exposed to the dangerous toxins.

 

Eventually, because the climatic conditions do not self-correct nor reverse themselves, the harmful fungal infestations will work their way into the new drywall, carpeting, textiles and fabrics, piping/plumbing, ductwork and ventilation system, etc. Little-by-little, or alarmingly fast!

 

Then, the toxic black mold fungi will show its ugly face all over again.

 

That’s one reason why, on the national news, you will see big piles of torn drywall inside and outside of houses and commercial buildings damaged by floods, hurricanes, etc. That’s why you’ll see entire houses gutted, and fully exposed wall joists and ceiling frames.

 

Painters must use great caution if they must continue to work in rooms and buildings that have been redecorated, but still harbor the toxic black fungi.

 

MY ADVICE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

 

Every time you work in or near one of those areas, protect yourself. Still hidden somewhere is the same toxic fungi and infestation that you may have been responsible, previously, for treating.

 

  1. SUIT UP! Head-to-toe in a disposable plastic uniform and shoe covers (like surgeons wear).
  2. Wear disposable gloves with a wide, snug wristband, or that reach mid-forearm.
  3. Wear a hat.
  4. Wear a nose and mouth mask.
  5. Better yet: Use a free-standing breathing apparatus.
  6. Wear eye goggles that fit snugly.

 

Repeated, or prolonged, exposure to toxic black mold fungi should be avoided. The price that your body might have to pay tends to be much higher than you could have anticipated.

 

Most of you can’t afford – and don’t want – to skip around from workplace to workplace. And, in Florida, as well as other parts of the country, it’s hard to find a hotel property that does not have some kind of environmental problem.

 

So, please! Do whatever you can.  NO! Do whatever it takes – to protect yourself from the effects of toxic Black mold fungi infestation.

 

It’s a life-threatening and traumatic tragedy. Trust me!  The EPA, environmental experts and medical specialists can tell you all about it.

 

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The life you save from permanent damage by toxic black mold exposure could be your own!

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Paintshop: Working with Toxic Painting Chemicals

Protecting oneself from chemical exposure is the key to enjoying a long working life. In the coatings industry this is particularly important since coatings and paint materials contain any number of harmful components. With what they are designed to do, they have to. Paints must withstand the weather, corrosion, rigorous abrasion, and the penetrating rays of the sun.

 

Paint manufacturers and the chemists do their parts in helping to ensure the lasting quality and endurance of paint.

 

The painter is the one who applies a coating for a specific situation. Therefore, he is the one subject to the conditions produced in applying the material.

 

This is to inform you that you are in charge of what and how you are exposed to.

 

Here’s an example: You are assigned to paint the ceiling deck of a retail store. You assess the situation and realize there is certain equipment you will need. Namely a spray pump, fluid line, a spray gun, and possibly plastic to cover what doesn’t get painted.

 

If you are a seasoned professional, then you also know you must protect yourself. You know this because you have prior experience with the product you are going to use. The paint is composed of various inorganic solids and evaporative solvents which are dangerous to one’s health. But, that’s what the job calls for.

 

Under most circumstances, most anyone would say, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Figure out how you can paint the ceiling without becoming seriously ill. This was a major problem in the early 1900’s when there was lead in the paint, and painters had virtually no breathing protection. Their life expectancy was often shorter.

 

Today, however, the toxicity of the various paint chemicals has met its match. If the painter “works smart”, there is no longer a reason for him to suffer.

 

This is what’s available to the painter and to everyone serious about their health:

 

  1. Self- Enclosed Breathing Apparatus. Similar to what firefighters and scuba divers use, it provides the optimum conditions for breathing in a toxic environment. It is composed of a compressed oxygen air tank and a facial mask or a complete helmet.

 

  1. An Inorganic Vapor Respirator. This is the painter’s most universal tool next to the brush and spray gun. It is a face mask design containing filter cartridges which remove substances in the air before you inhale. The cartridges become filled with contaminants and must be replaced regularly. Caution: When in an enclosed space, the solvent concentration can build up to a point where the cartridges cannot prevent the solvent vapor from coming through. If you know this before hand, opt for the Self-Enclosed breathing system.

 

  1. Air Flow Mask. This is a simple system in which air is supplied to a transparent type bag mask. The incoming air blows through the mask providing you with breathable air, as well as blowing through an opening the size of your mouth and eyes. This current of air keeps any dust and overspray from entering. It is not recommended for keeping out high evaporative solvent vapor.

 

  1. Full Body Suit. It is a thin cloth suit which can be used under many conditions. A mechanic could use one to keep the grease and oil off of him. For the painter, it prevents paint overspray, paint platter and a minimal amount of solvents from coming in contact with his skin. In this, it keeps the chemical from being absorbed out into the bloodstream. The body suit is very important to have on hand.

 

  1. Head Sock, Eye Protection and Gloves. These are accessory items that provide additional protection. They are one of the best precautions you can take, because they protect vital areas. Sometimes these items are taken for granted. You may take them off and forget to put them back on because you’re so busy. Big mistake!

 

I once was working on a wood striping project, when my gloves became dissolved up by the solvent. I kept on working without them.

 

Later, when I had finished, I saw that my hands were extremely dry. I then thought to myself, “I wonder how much of that solvent made it into my bloodstream and into my brain. I felt a little queasy and I was wearing a respirator. See what can happen?

 

Recommendations: Be your own advocate. It’s your health that will suffer if you aren’t.

 

* When first starting to work with a product, read the manufacturer’s label where it concerns

safety precautions.

*My own personal advice: Have a box or container in your vehicle in which to store only safety

equipment.

*Always keep a spare set of respirator cartridges. When you can’t find any, you’re likely to

keep working.

*Some products are against the law for use to consumers. This means they are even more toxic.

 

When working with paints, coatings, and solvents, toxicity is self evident. Prepare yourself so you will live to paint another day, and not one in which your family loses you.

 

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Toxic exposure is everyone’s business on the job.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

“THE CLEANER”

One of the funniest foreign tv sitcoms, aired in 2014-2015, was “The Cleaner.” It starred an average German named Joe, who ran a small crime scene clean-up service.

 

The problem was that Joe liked to talk. And, he tended to meddle in the lives of whomever may have been on the scene, or involved in the case. Live victims, dead victims’ loved ones, neighbors, police, even suspects.

 

Joe had a very messy job. Horrible working conditions. A big pile of stress. Tight deadlines. Demanding clients.

 

But, Joe was a credit to his profession, and his community. He always left the people on the scene in better shape. Just like the rooms and property that he treated.

 

In April, I happened to notice a Linkedin.com connection to a real crime scene clean up expert. “Jerome” was located in the London area. Unlike with Joe, his services included repairing and repainting of the property.

 

He told me that the restoration services were added in 2008, when his business slowed down. More people had entered the field. He needed to stay at the top of the specialized resource list. Property owners of crime scene properties wanted all signs of the incident eradicated.

 

One of my questions concerned the odors that crimes left behind.

 

“How do you guarantee 100 percent removal of the smells?’

 

Jerome listed four tips:
1. Air out the place for as long as possible. Before you start the clean up, then during the work, and after all restorative work is completed. At least three days.

2. Use one or more of the following products:

A. Disinfectants: Microben, Shockwave RTU, bleach and peroxide.

B. Enzyme cleaners: Viraguard, Metrex.

C. Blood borne pathogens spill kit.

3. Use paint and finishing products that DO leave behind an initial product odor.

4. Repaint or refinish every surface in the area. Do not minimize the need for a complete overhaul.

 

These basic tips make sense in other scenarios. Examples: Small fire, flooding, tornado, hurricane, roof leak, water/plumbing leak.

 

Commercial painters can be called to work on properties linked to some very gross situations.

 

I’ve done more than a few.
1. 3-story /Victorian home of elderly sisters, both found dead and badly decomposed.

2. Lake Michigan 3-story home of a physician, who took his own life in the sun room.

3. 4-bedroom ranch home of Alzheimer’s patient, who had been sheltering over 75 cats.

4. Historic Miami large apartment of noted author and professor, discovered deceased in the middle of wall-to-wall pack rat mess.

 

Restoring purpose to properties struck by crime, or other tragedies, can be very gratifying. To see, smell, and touch the positive changes taking shape as you work is a benefit of value far greater than the fee you’re paid.

 

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Cleaning up someone else’s mess can be a service of merit, and a source of gratification.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s Tips: 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 TO THE ENVIRONMENT

 

TIP 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.

 

TIP 2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun.

 

TIP 3. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation.

 

TIP 4. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus.

 

TIP 5: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, however, it is not possible.

 

TIP 6. Minimize toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system.

 

TIP 7. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.

 

TIP 8. 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.

 

KEY TIP: 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.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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