Professional painters provide their services across a wide range of commercial and residential spaces. Sometimes, the nature of their work may involve certain safety risks. While most professionals can handle the trickiest of jobs without any problems, it only takes a second for something to go wrong. That’s why professional painters should be aware of the risks that they may have to encounter on the job.
Even though painting isn’t the most dangerous profession, painters always run the risk of hurting themselves when exposed to certain elements in the environment. Being cautious and taking a few preventive measures are things that every painter should do before starting work. Professional painters may also accidentally injure others through their activities and/or equipment. To prevent potential financial loss from a lawsuit filed by the injured person(s), painters are recommended to get a painters liability insurance.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of safety risks for painters and certain ways in which painters can avoid those risks. So, without any further delay, let’s get right into it!
1. Exposure to toxic fumes
Paint releases toxic fumes and when painters go about their jobs, they are constantly exposed to them. While exposure to toxic fumes isn’t really a problem in well-ventilated spaces, it can pose significant health risks when painters are forced to work in confined spaces with improper ventilation.
When the workspace has limited airflow, the fumes can trigger a wide range of unpleasant physical symptoms that includes dizziness, headaches, and eye damage. So, before commencing work, painters should ensure that all the windows and doors in and around their workspace are open. In confined areas that don’t have any doors or windows, painters should use respirators. Protective goggles should also be worn to prevent eye damage.
2. Sustaining musculoskeletal injuries
Painters often have to perform their duties in spaces that require them to assume awkward body positions. Maintaining these awkward positions for long periods may result in musculoskeletal injuries that have the potential of worsening over time. Manual lifting of heavy weights may also trigger certain injuries.
The best way to prevent musculoskeletal injuries arising from assuming and maintaining awkward postures and positions is to take breaks. Also, painters are recommended to learn and master proper weight-lifting techniques that would allow them to lift weights without doing any significant damage to their bodies.
3. Falling from heights
Ladders and/or scaffolds are commonly used by painters to access ceilings and upper wall sections, and they need to be properly secured before the painters make their way up. Not securing them can lead to falls that may lead to not just severe injury but death as well.
To prevent falls, it’s important that the ladders and/or scaffolds are set up correctly, i.e. they should be set evenly on a surface that’s even and their wheels should be locked before painters commence their climb. If multiple heavy items need to be carried up to the work area, painters should work in groups.
4. Slippery surfaces
Spilled paint can make surfaces slippery. The chances of painters spilling the paint are high in large work areas. Slipping and falling in such cases are common and can result in injuries that may force the painters to remain absent from work for a long time.
While preventing paint spills is next to impossible because of how paint is, the slips and falls are certainly preventable. For starters, painters have to wear shoes that have non-skid soles. Additionally, they have to remember to check an area for drippings and spills and wipe them before walking on the surface.
5. Exposure to asbestos
Asbestos was used as a building material during the 1950 – 1990 period because of properties such as tensile strength, chemical erosion resistance, and insulation. However, its use was discontinued in the ‘90s as scientific research revealed that breathing asbestos dust has the potential to cause severe lung damage and, in the worst cases, cancer. It’s also very hard to find a cure for lung damage caused by asbestos dust.
That’s why painters are recommended to first consult the property owner regarding the possible presence of asbestos in the work environment. Licensed contractors can perform the required tests to detect asbestos and remove it. Painters should start working only once the asbestos has been removed from the work area.
6. Close proximity to electrical fixtures
Painters may have to work in areas with multiple electrical fixtures and if they aren’t too careful, they may end up getting electrocuted. It’s necessary for painters to be aware of the space they’re working in. If one or more electrical fixtures are identified, they should talk to the property owner regarding turning the electricity off.