PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

Clemco Industries Corp.


PAINTSQUARE BLOG

Comment |

Unstoppable Ego v. Irresistible Force

THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2015

By Michael Halliwell


More items for Health & Safety
More items from North America

As many of you know, my involvement with the coatings industry is not on the application side. As someone in the environmental field, my most common involvement is in the assessment of applied paints for lead content.

But recently, I was asked to assess a free-standing, four-story decorative gate structure that needs to be relocated to make way for some major transportation upgrades.

The location, height and nature of the structure meant it was time to bring in an Elevated Work Platform (EWP) to get the job done right.

High Hopes

For many of you, working at heights is something you do on a daily or near-daily basis.

WaterTower
The Workplace Safety Store

You may get used to working at heights. But don't let experience lead to complacency ... and to safety shortcuts.

Your daily prep for work includes putting on a harness and getting a lanyard or retract ready to ensure that you are tied off and that you don’t fall from heights greater than the OSHA-mandated six feet.

In my company, even though I maintain my fall arrest and EWP training, working at heights is less common and using an EWP is rare.

And it was a first for our otherwise-experienced corporate safety officer, who joined me on the project.

Needless to say, in light of all the recent articles about fatal falls that have appeared in PaintSquare News and the upcoming U.S. Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, it was both refreshing and an eye opener to go through “from the ground up” and revisit our safe work plans for fall protection and EWPs.

Stopping Falls: What's Your Excuse?

If you weren’t already aware of it, construction has the highest number of falls of all industries, regardless of whether you are in the U.S. or Canada.

Similarly, falls are consistently one of the most common fatal accidents in our workplaces. In my jurisdiction, falls account for about one in five workplace injury claims.

And yet, more and more, we’re hearing of incidents where fall arrest wasn’t used, wasn’t available, or was worn but simply wasn’t tied off.

ChinatownGate
Michael Halliwell

The decorative gate might not seem high to veterans of great heights, but it's well above OSHA's six-foot threshold for mandatory fall protection.

I think we’ve all heard the excuses: “It’s inconvenient! “It’s a hassle!” “It’ll only take a couple minutes to do the job!” and “Oh, I’ve done this thousands of times. It's fine!”

The thing is, the difference between going home that day and going to the morgue can be the matter of an inch or two—or a fraction of a second.

Beyond Splat

Ok, so we know we should be wearing our harnesses and be tied off all the time. Great! So, we do that and we’re safe, right? Not quite.

There’s another component here that we can’t forget about. Yes, if you fall, the lanyard and harness keep you from going splat.

But then, you’re stuck just hanging around. Do you remember suspension trauma? Do you know what “hanging around” can do to your body?

There are some pretty major blood vessels and veins needed to provide blood to the big muscles in the legs. Restrict the circulation there, and it can result in permanent medical complications or even death.

WalkingBeam
The Workplace Safety Store

It takes but a second to go from top to dead. And if you land in between, a rescue plan is critical.

Having a rescue plan is critical, and anyone who falls and is suspended needs to be evaluated by a medical professional.

Killer Complacency

I know that most of you are already aware of the dangers of falls and treat them with the respect they deserve.

But what about the person next to you (or waiting for you at the job site)?

Is he or she tied off at all required times? Is the new guy getting the training and mentoring needed to do it right, and do they understand the gravity (yeah, I know…) of their working situation?

Or are you, and them, becoming complacent and blind to the hazards of working at heights?

Fresh Look

It’s great if we can be the example: watch out for our brothers and sisters on the job and help the new guy.

But every once in a while, do what I did: Take a step back, look at the job objectively—and from the ground up.

FallProtection FallProtectionNetting
Cal/OSHA

Even if you treat falls with respect, what about the person next to you? The new guy? And the cocky old one?

Don’t let complacency sneak in to ruin a good day or even a life. It is better to take a moment and ask yourself questions like:

  • Is there something being overlooked?
  • Does the existing policy need to be updated, or even replaced?
  • Is the equipment up to date for inspections and certifications?
  • Is everyone’s training current?

My recent review of my company’s fall-protection plan and EWP practices helped me to be safer during my recent work at heights.

In the end, wouldn’t you rather take a couple minutes and possibly swallow a bite of humble pie in finding something that was missed, rather than having a plate overflowing with remorse that you could have done something simple to prevent a fatal fall?

It’s a jungle out there, folks. Let’s stay safe while we swing in the trees.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Michael Halliwell

Michael Halliwell, M.Eng., CESA, EP, P.Eng., is an Associate and Environmental Engineer for Thurber Engineering Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. During his 17-plus years with the company, he has been involved with environmental site assessment, remediation, construction inspection and supervision, and project management. He also performs hazardous building material assessments for asbestos and lead paint.

SEE ALL CONTENT FROM THIS CONTRIUBTOR

   

Tagged categories: Access; Fall protection; Health and safety; Thurber Engineering Ltd.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Bullard
 
Bullard Made in the USA
 
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Quality
 
The ALPHA1 provides a consistent finish day-in
day-out; job to job.
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Portable Dust Collectors for Tough Environments
 
Trailer and skid-mounted models in numerous sizes, powered by electric and/or diesel. Sloped roofs, multiple dust inlets, high static, dampered fans. Lockable power & drive compartments.
 

 
Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
 
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement
 
Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!
1(800)-252-7869
 

 
Novatek Corporation
 
Dustless Coatings Removal
 
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800 www.Novatekco.com
 

 
Sky Climber, LLC
 
Solutions in Suspended Access
 
Safely reach workspaces regardless of size or purpose with our full line of Hoists, modular Platforms, and versatile Workcages.
 

 
Jotun Paints Inc.
 
Jotun Jotachar 1709
 
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.
 

 
NLB Corporation
 
NLB Sure Shroud: Greater Protection and Flexibility
 
NLB’s Sure Shroud’s lighter weight and flexibility reduces operator fatigue and offers unmatched protection against high pressure hose ruptures. 10k to 40k psi rated.
 

 
Graco Inc.
 
Graco EcoQuip 2: Experience the Difference
 
While others claim their equipment is the same, none of them compare to Graco’s EcoQuip 2™ Vapor Abrasive® blasting line. Visit graco.com/ecoquip to learn more.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us