Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Safety for Painting
If you're going to climb up on a chair and give a lick of paint to a window sill, that's one thing. If you're planning to paint the outside of a building, you need to give serious thought to safety.
On average, a little more than 19 Aussies a year die in falls from ladders. The last thorough study of ladder- and height-related injuries found that 3,486 Australians fell from a ladder and were hurt badly enough to be admitted to hospital in a year.
Here's how the OHS puts it: "Basically, the regulations say that ladders should only be used as more or less the last resort if undertaking a task at heights." A good rule of thumb is not to relay on a ladder if the fall from that ladder would be 2 metres or more, or if the work involves reaching or stretching.
So, if you plan to climb up a metre and a half and have a look at something, that's a good time to to use a ladder. Set it on a sturdy surface, make sure it's firmly placed, and don't lark about while you're climbing.
Got a fiddly bit of painting to do three metres up? Don't use a ladder. Scaffolding and platforms are the right choice in this case.
When making your decision, you should also consider other factors, such as wind, other workers in the same space who might distract or interfere with movement, and dangers on the ground such as spiky railings.
If you'll be quite high up, like the painter in our photo, and you can't use a fixed work platform, you should have a safety harness, as he does.
There's one more thing to consider, though: experience. If you're thinking of painting your own house and haven't worked at heights before, you're in greater danger than an experienced tradesman would be.
at 2:32 PM