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Posts tagged ‘Health and Safety’

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.

HEAT ILLNESS: Preparing-for-Prevention Tips for Painters. Part I

“WATER. REST. SHADE.”

 

Heat illness is very dangerous, even deadly. Especially to workers that are exposed to excessive levels of heat, humidity, sun, and poor air supply/ventilation.

 

According to OSHA, “Employers have the responsibility to provide workplaces that are safe from excessive heat (and humidity).”

 

As painters and decorators, we are our own best advocates in preventing heat illness on the job. We have the responsibility to become “heat illness savvy.” To know our own abilities and limits. To become aware of our teammates’ abilities and limits under the heat. And, to work smart!

 

NOW – during the cooler months – is the time:

 

1. to develop our own plan to prevent and treat on-the-job heat illness symptoms,

2. to determine how to handle our workload during the sustaining hot and humid months/season. In Florida: May through October.

 

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

 

1. Talk about the 4 main types, and their symptoms, risks and warning signs, and, safety issues.

2. Publicize the illness locally – both in workplaces and throughout the community.

3. Orient everyone on the team and staff about what to look for. The need to be on the alert.

4. Train team members and staff what to do, when, and how. The need to respond promptly.

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 and indirect)?

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

 

2. Know your work environment.

A. What is the highest temperature range 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? Hint: Add heat index to reported temp..

C. What is the longest period of time during a work day, that you must work continuously in that actual temperature? Example: 4 hours.

D. How many days during a week must you work continuously in the actual temperature?

E. What is the clean-air and ventilation level in your work area(s) on a continual basis? Rate it: excellent, good, fair, poor.

 

3. Know your job’s physical demands.

A. How many hours a day, in hot and humid conditions, must you exert yourself physically and continuously? How many days a week?

B. At how fast of a pace must you do your work? Rate: Very slowly-to-very fast.

C. For how long a period must you keep up that pace? Example: 45 minutes; Example: 2 hours.

D. How many breaks do you get, ordinarily, during your workday? Example: 2.

1) At what times, other than lunch, are you given scheduled breaks? No. of minutes? Where?

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

3) How often can you take a break when hot and humid conditions exceed your tolerance level?

 

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

A. How many pounds can you lift, carry or move at once, under mild weather conditions?

1) How many pounds under hot and humid conditions, without experiencing any symptoms?

2) Do you need to use a cart or other conveyance piece of equipment to move, carry or lift

B. How long can you climb and stand on a ladder under mild weather conditions?

1)How long under hot and humid conditions, without experiencing any symptoms?

C. How long and often can you bend/stoop/crouch within one hour, under mild conditions?

1) How long and often can you can do these, under hot and humid conditions? No symptoms?

D. How long can you stand and how far can you walk without resting, in mild conditions?

1) How long can you hold or carry anything that weighs your “pound limit,” without symptoms?

2) How long and how far under hot, humid conditions? Without experiencing symptoms?

 

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

A. What have been your first heat illness symptoms in the past? List them on card; put in wallet.

B. How long had you been working in hot and humid conditions before any symptoms hit you?

C. What medical conditions do you have that could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms?

D. What medications do you take that 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 hot-humid-poor ventilation environmental conditions?

 

If so, may I suggest…

1. Get checked out by your physician. Also, “Complete Metabolic Panel” and basic blood tests.

2. Avoid hot, humid, poorly ventilated, and intense full sun.

3. Work in cooler, shaded areas when extreme hot/humid conditions do exist in other areas.

4. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any situation that might cause, trigger and/or exacerbate your susceptibility to suffering heat illness symptoms.

 

READ: “Heat Illness: Special Work Day Life-Saving Prevention Tips for Painters. Part II”

 

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Save a life from heat illness. Teammate, boss, guest, visitor. Yours!

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 May you and yours enjoy a healthy, fulfilling and safe 2016.

And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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