The Essential Safety Checklist for Professional Painters

The Essential Safety Checklist for Professional PaintersPainting or repainting your home or commercial building is essential in maintaining its structure, aesthetics, and value. When looking for the best painters in the Bay Area, many homeowners and business owners are mostly concerned with the level of skill and experience, quality workmanship, and cost, among other things. 

While these are essential factors to consider when hiring a painter, you should not overlook another vital factor: the importance of safety. 

As you can see, workplace safety is essential not just for every employee but for you as a client as well. All workers desire to be in a safe and protected environment, so that in turn they will e able to protect their clients and the properties the painters work on. 

Health and safety are key factors for all industries, including residential and commercial painting in Dublin, to promote the well-being of the employees, employers, as well as their clients.

If you’re an employer, it’s your duty and moral responsibility to look after the protection of your employees. You are required by law and by your conscience to provide your employees with safety gear. If you are a responsible painting contractor, you must make sure that your painting crew wear the proper safety gear during work hours, especially if they work in conditions that would expose them to certain hazards.

What are the risks that painters usually encounter?

Painters work in different areas, from residential homes to high-rise commercial buildings to factories. Thus, there are lots of potential hazards these painters should be aware of. 

Any client hiring a professional paint crew to paint their homes and businesses should feel confident that the pros have both the necessary insurance and safety training to mitigate any risks.

Here are some of the common hazards that residential and commercial painters are usually exposed to at work:

  • Chemical exposure from paints, primers, thinners, cleaning products, etc., through inhalation or skin contact. 
  • Exposure to sanding dust can lead to occupational asthma, respiratory problems, and cancer
  • Exposure to mold and mildew
  • Trips and slips
  • Falls from heights
  • Falling objects
  • Prolonged standing
  • Exposure to mold and mildew
  • Lead exposure (especially when working with older buildings)
  • Lack of proper ventilation
  • Confined spaces
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Extreme weather conditions, especially in exterior painting
  • High-frequency noise (which is common in commercial painting jobs)

Frequent or long-term exposure to any of these risks could lead to a variety of short-term and long-term ailments, including eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes from chemical burns, respiratory problems, kidney ailments, and even cancers. The fumes from the chemicals in paint and other supplies can also trigger asthma.

In addition, any unprotected painter working in hazardous conditions may have a higher chance of suffering other bodily injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, concussions, etc.

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Act in 1970 establishes and enforces safe workplace standards and conditions. The OSHA standards make sure that the employees are protected from the risks that compromise their health and safety.

OSHA requires employers to pay for personal protective equipment (PPE) when it is used to comply with OSHA standards (with only a few exceptions). These PPE typically include overalls, respirators, face shields, hard hats, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves, welding helmets, as well as fall restraint systems.

Leather safety gloves cap tool belt earmuffs

Personal protection equipment (PPE) – what are they?

Personal protective equipment or PPE refers to any type of equipment worn by workers to minimize exposure to hazards that can cause serious workplace illnesses, injuries, or fatality. It is a vital aspect for keeping residential and commercial painters safe.

The PPE consists of wearable safety items designed to protect the painter from existing and potential hazards listed earlier. Here are some examples of the common PPE items worn by professional paint crews:

  • Respiratory protection:
    • N95 respirator – Most painters wear N95 respirators in their regular work. An N95 respirator filters out at least 95% of airborne contaminants like paint fumes, mold spores, and sanding dust. It is ideal for most paint jobs, including brushing, rolling, and spraying latex, acrylic, and other water-based paints.
    • P100 respirator – A P100 respirator filter out at least 99% of airborne particles. You can use this respirator if you are using oil-based (alkyd) paints or if you are painting enclosed spaces with insufficient ventilation.
    • Powered respirator – This respirator filters and even purifies the air. It uses a pump to push the air into a hood that the user wears.  
  • Eye, face, and head protection
    • Safety glasses – Safety glasses with side shields protect the eye area from fumes, airborne contaminants, and flying-object hazards. Safety glasses are also available in tinted options to protect the eyes from glare and the sun’s UV rays. They can also be worn over prescription glasses.
    • Goggles – Using a good pair of goggles is highly recommended, especially when there is a risk of paint, other chemicals, and sanding dust getting into the painter’s eyes, especially while spraying paint or painting in a windy or dusty environment. There are also tinted goggles to protect the eyes from glare and the sun’s UV rays.
    • Face shield – Face shields protect the face from harmful particles, paint fumes, and flying or falling objects. But wearing a face shield alone doesn’t guarantee complete protection for the face from such hazards, so it is better to wear it over protective eyewear and/or face mask.
    • Hard hat – A hard hat protects the wearer’s head in the event of a possible impact caused by a falling object or collision during a fall.
  • Protective clothing
    • Overalls – Overalls consist of a pair of trousers with a bib, holder, and loose straps to wear over the painter’s normal clothes. Overalls do not usually cover the arms and the head. They are ideal for light paint jobs or for indoor painting where the painter isn’t exposed to sunlight and other harsh weather elements.
    • Coveralls – Overalls have long sleeves and legs to protect the arms and legs from paint drips and sanding dust, and a hood to protect the head from paint drips and splatters.
    • Apron – An apron protects the wearer’s clothes underneath it from drips, splatters, splashes, spills, and smudges while painting. 
    • High-visibility safety vest or jacket – Painters working above ground should wear a high-visibility or reflective safety vest or jacket as protection from potential hazards. These vests and jackets enable the worker to be seen by others and alert that someone is present, especially in low-visibility situations.
  • Hand and foot protection
    • Gloves – Gloves are also essential PPE for protecting the painter’s hands from paint drips and splatters, sharp or rough objects, abrasion hazards cold and heat, and potential injuries. Protective gloves are available in coated, foam, nylon, cut-resistant, nitrite, as well as reusable and disposable options.
    • Knee pads – Painters would kneel for extended hours to be able to access certain areas while painting. They should also wear these specialized pads to protect their knees from strain and injury.
    • Shoe covers – Shoe covers keep dirt, grime, and other contaminants from entering the worksite and protect the painter’s shoes and any exposed skin from wet paint. 
    • Safety shoes – No matter what type of safety shoe the workers wear depdnding on the working conditions, all of them should be resistant against slipping and adequately protect the feet from bumps, cuts, punctures, falling objects, and many sorts of injuries. Painters who are exposed to heat every day require a pair of shoes that can withstand extremely high temperatures. High-cut safety boots, on the other hand, are recommended for workers exposed to rough or damp environments. In addition, safety shoes help keep the feet comfortable, clean, and dry.
  • Fall prevention equipment – 
    • Full-body harness or safety harness – It is a wearable fall arrest component that connects the wearer to the anchorage point, preventing that wearer from hitting the floor or ground in the event of a fall. A full-body harness distributes all forces of a fall onto one area of the wearer’s body, ensuring that the wearer is suspended upright right following a fall.
    • Connecting means – Connecting means or connectors serve as a medium between the harness and the anchorage connector. They usually consist of energy-absorbing elements to prevent the wearer from hitting the floor or ground during a fall. Some connectors include a control system that allows the worker to adjust the line as needed. Aside from that, connectors have backup webbing and clips connecting the lanyard to the full-body harness. Some connectors include:
      • Lanyard – It connects the full-body harness to the anchor or lifeline with a line of energy-absorbing webbing.
      • Self-retracting lifelines – These lifelines feature an automatic belay system that keeps tension on the line constant. The rope, cable, or webbing retracts into the housing unit connected to the anchorage.
      • Carabiners – A carabiner is a special type of shackle or coupling link with a safety closure. Carabiners can function as backup systems and provide additional security.
      • Webbing – Webbing is a material that provides a strong and flexible backbone of a harness and ties all weight-bearing parts, such as the belt, leg loops, and belay loop together. Webbing has been traditionally made from nylon, polyester, or other synthetic fibers.
  • Hearing protection – OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program when exposure to noise is at 85 decibels or greater averaged over eight work hours or an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). OSHA also requires employers to provide free hearing protection devices available to all employees exposed to such extreme noise over eight working hours or an eight-hour TWA. It is important that hearing protection devices be replaced as necessary.
    • Safety earplugs – Earplugs are inserted into the ear to prevent loud noise, as well as intrusion of water, dust, insect, cold, and strong winds from entering the ear.
    • Earmuffs – Earmuffs protect the worker’s ears from high-frequency noise, as well as dust, water, insects, and extreme inconsistencies in temperature. If the noise levels are too high or if a person has very sensitive ears, earplugs and earmuffs can be worn together.

Painter climbing the building

Safety gear maintenance and care

If the PPE is reusable, they should be cleaned and maintained accordingly. It’s easy and doesn’t cost a lot. Not taking care of the PPE can result in significant decline in funciton and efficiency. But if the PPE is disposable, it should be discarded right away once used.

Check out the following instructions that companies and painters should follow in using and maintaining their PPEs:

  • Take care of your PPEs at all times.
  • Make sure to check your PPEs before and after each use.
  • After using your reusable PPE, store it in a clean and dry place and free from sunlight, moisture, and contaminants.
  • Do not share used PPE as this practice can put the you and the other users at high risk for accidental contamination.
  • If the PPEs are disposable (such as disposable gloves and shoe covers) properly dispose of them once used. 
  • Please do not reuse disposable PPE. as this can also pose high levels of risk for accidental contamination.
  • Always clean and sanitize your reusable PPE safter use.
  • Report any loss, damage, or obvious defect on the PPE you are provided.
  • Repair or replace damaged PPE.

Training and awareness

In addition to PPE, employers are required to provide solid safety training programs for employees who must use PPEs. These programs help the employers become aware of the following: 

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to put on, take off, adjust, and wear PPE properly
  • The limitations of PPE
  • The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE

Regular safety training will also help painters be aware of the present and potential hazards that they can encounter in their work environment. Awareness of these hazards helps the employees understand the need to use PPE at work. In addition, these safety training programs teach the employees how to use PPE properly so that they do their job properly. Also, employees must make sure that any PPE supplied is maintained properly so that its function and efficiency are maintained.

Conclusion

Safety should be a priority in every workplace. If a painting contractor properly uses protective gear while painting your home or commercial property, it tells you about the painter’s pursuit and commitment of maintaining safety at work.

Properly using safety equipment and training the employees in solid safety programs also indicates that your painter complies with health and safety regulations.

When safety practices are in place in commercial or house painting in Pleasant Hill, CA, it will be easier for the painting contractor and the crew to achieve quality work. Taking the necessary safety precautions and wearing the proper safety equipment can help the painters focus on delivering quality work. Always remember – a safe work environment means a productive work environment!