The job duties for commercial and industrial painting contractors include inspecting, preparing and painting various interior and exterior surfaces. As a result, many professional painters need to work in different environments and conditions, and face a wide range of potential hazards, including:
- Slips, trips and falls due to improper working conditions;
- Insufficient oxygen levels, toxic air, explosive atmosphere and other risks associated with working in confined spaces;
- Exposure to different types of fungi and bacteria;
- Exposure to VOCs and other hazardous substances that are typically emitted by specialty commercial and industrial coatings;
- Workplace injuries from falling objects and flying debris;
- Exposure to heat, UV radiation, electrical hazards, and flammable and combustible materials;
- Occupational diseases resulting from working in awkward or stationary positions, performing repetitive physical tasks, lifting heavy objects, etc.
Ways to Control and Minimize Occupational Hazards on Site
The key to a successful health and safety program is to promote a company culture that focuses on the health and safety of employees and customers. Some initiatives you should consider implementing are as follows:
- Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Many commercial and industrial coatings contain flammable substances and toxic chemicals that are resealed into the air during painting activities. To ensure maximum protection, any ignition sources (e.g. pieces of equipment or materials that emit a spark or flame) near painting operations should be prohibited.
Additionally, painting contractors should wear PPE, which consists of:
- Respirators – the right type of respirators, filters and gas/vapor cartridges must be selected for each paint job and type of contaminant;
- Eye protection – safety goggles protect the eyes from dust during sanding and grinding operations, and paint particles during spray painting;
- Hearing protection – hearing protection is necessary when operating equipment that exceeds 85db (e.g. compressors and grinders);
- Protective clothing – including gloves, coveralls and barrier creams, protective clothing prevents paints and chemicals from coming into contact with the skin, thus preventing skin injuries and conditions like contact dermatitis.
Although PPE delivers the first line of defense against common hazards, It should be used to supplement, not replace, an effective health and safety strategy.
- Implementing Safety Standards and Compliance Procedures
Safety measures are meant to provide a safer workspace by minimizing or eliminating the hazards associated with on-site painting operations. To avoid workplace injuries, commercial and industrial painting contractors are required to learn the correct procedures for:
- setting up, inspecting and properly climbing and standing on ladders and scaffolds;
- lifting heavy objects;
- keeping equipment and tools in good working order;
- keeping working areas organized and clutter-free;
- safely handling, storing and disposing of commercial and industrial coatings.
- Controlling Potential Health Hazards
Commercial and Industrial Painting contractors should review the potential hazards and health effects along with the safe handling procedures for the commercial and industrial coatings specified for each painting project.
During painting operations, professional painters should also:
- ensure proper ventilation with open windows or fans;
- wear the PPE recommended for each task;
- clean up paint or solvent spills and remove obstacles to prevent slips, trips and falls;
- report potential hazards as soon as possible;
- keep portable fire extinguishers in storage and work areas;
- follow asbestos and lead safe work practices, whenever necessary;
- follow OSHA guidelines and standards and company safety rules.
As the safety of our employees, customers and the environment is very important to us, Performance Painting Contractors has implemented rigorous health and safety standards that our highly trained painting crews and site supervisors comply with. To find out more about what “safety first” means to us, please call Performance Painting Contractors today at (904)-641-4800 in Jacksonville or (813)-308-0388 in Tampa, FL.