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Editorial License

By Karen Kapsanis
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About the Blogger

Karen Kapsanis

Editorial License by Karen Kapsanis

Karen Kapsanis was the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings when these blogs were written. Post-JPCL, Karen remains an inexplicably lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers and a surprisingly speedy sprinter.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not Strangers to Danger

Maybe you’ve had this experience, too: I have a hard time forgetting accidents that happen close to home, especially when the accidents are fatal and especially when I know the victim.

A little more than 18 years ago, my next-door neighbor died in a house fire. I remember the date. I remember the fireman’s sad face as he walked slowly out of the house, looking at the paramedics and shaking his head. I remember a TV news reporter coming to my house that night to interview me. I remember asking him to leave. I remember my neighbor’s black and white cat returning to the boarded-up house, sitting on the porch, waiting, refusing to move.

Accidents, particularly when they are close to home, are hard to forget.

All in the Family

It seems that every accident in the industry is, in one way or another, close to home. After all, high-performance coating work is a relatively small industry with many family-run businesses, small or large. And over the years, I have met coatings professionals who don’t work in a family business but refer to the industry as a kind of family.

Maybe that explains why, in our sister publication, PaintSquare News, the stories often getting the most comments are the saddest ones—those involving accidents that cause injuries and death on the jobsite. You may have commented yourself or have anguished as you read about the death of someone you knew.

 Four workers were killed in a garage collapse earlier this month in Doral, FL. In a niche industry, each death hits hard.


Four workers were killed in a garage collapse earlier this month in Doral, FL. In a niche industry, each death hits hard.

Painters, blasters, and other crew members have died from a variety of things gone wrong: falls from scaffolds, suffocation because of inadequate respiratory protection, explosions inside confined spaces, for example.

And although the construction industry in the U.S. does have a high fatality rate, risks in painting and blasting work aren’t limited to construction sites. Steel coating and fabrication shops, regulated under OSHA’s general industry standards, can pose plenty of risks to workers.

Risky Business

I believe that some accidents on the job, as in other professions and as in all manner of life, happen no matter how many precautions we take.

But whether in the shop or the field, worker deaths and injuries often result from unsafe practices or conditions. So we all have to promote safe practice, even when part of doing so means reporting on deaths and injuries on the job.

I find it remarkable that painting contractors in the shop and field put themselves at risk every day in inherently dangerous work. We should remember and respect the risks all those workers take as clearly as we remember the deaths of those who are near to us. Remembering and mitigating the risks could help save lives.

Accidents are tragic for the victims, as well as painfully hard for the survivors to forget, particularly when the deaths are close to home.

And in one way or another, accidents in our industry are close to home.

More items for Health & Safety

Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Accidents; Construction; Health and safety; Industrial Contractors

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Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

Graco Inc.
Graco Mortar Pump

The M680 sprays epoxy-based mortars, anti-skid coatings, cementitious and filled materials. Compact.
Easy to use.
Call 877-844-7226 or

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
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Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

Abrasives Inc.
Check our Prices for Blast Abrasives

Faced with higher abrasive costs? We invite you to call & check our rates on Black Magic® coal slag and other quality blast materials. Abrasives Inc. 800-584-7524

CS Unitec
Peening Preparation Tools

CS Unitec’s hand-held scarifiers are an ideal alternative to small-area shot blasting for cleaning and preparing concrete & metal surfaces.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste money on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint

Atlantic Design, Inc.

to see what we did to this dust collector! ADI can increase the efficiency and life of your equipment! Any brand, for less than new! 866.Call.ADI

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