It’s been a painful few weeks for painters.
In late October, a mural painter fell to his death while working on a swing stage alongside the 41-story Hyde Resort & Residences luxury beachfront condominium in Hollywood, Fla. Two other painters were injured in the accident.
According to a report from the Miami News Times, a cable on the swing stage snapped and Raymond Willis Brown’s safety line was torn as the platform fell.
Work has begun anew at the condominium, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates the circumstances surrounding Brown’s death, as is customary following any worksite fatality.
Then on November 4, Rahssan Smith of Albany, N.Y., fell to his death while painting the Smith's Basin Bridge over the Champlain Canal.
Rahssan was one of five painting contractors working on the project for the state Department of Transportation. Local reports state that the painters were working from metal supports attached by cables to the under side of the bridge when a cable broke and the painters fell into the water below. The other four sustained injuries.
It’s a sober reminder to all painters to review their safety practices, particularly as it relates to safety harnesses.
“Just because you’ve got a fall protection harness on and you’re tied off doesn’t mean that you are safe,” points out Rob Vajko, marketing manager at National Safety Inc., a Washington-based supplier of safety suppliers. “There are numerous accidents each year that severely injure and even kill workers simply because they aren’t tied off correctly.”
Vajko provides the following pointers to consider in order to falls:
“A fall protection harness isn’t a magic wand that will keep you from getting injured if you take a fall,” Vajko adds. “It’s a tool like any other and must be properly maintained and properly used. Treat it with respect and understand what it is and isn’t intended to do and it will last you for a long time and keep you safe.”
For more information to share with your team on proper swing stage procedures, visit OSHA’s site on suspended scaffolding.