“I can’t see with safety goggles, I’ll just be extra careful.” “I’m just going to touch up that spot real quick, this ladder is sturdy enough.” How many times have we reassured ourselves that if we just do something ‘real quick’ or just ‘one time’ nothing will happen? Trust us, we’ve all been there. This doesn’t mean that because we all do it, it is acceptable. It only takes a second for an accident to happen and unfortunately, in the painting business, there is a high price to pay for an accident.
Between October 2012 and September 2013, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) had penalized painting contractors over $850,000 in fines for unsafe work practices. This includes 56 percent for lack of fall protection and 26 percent for unsafe lead work. Just one citation alone costs around $5,000 to $10,000. How many business days would you have to work to cover one fine?
When you look at OSHA’s 2013 Top 10 most cited violations in residential construction, painters appear in 5 out of the 10 categories. Even worse, painters are mentioned in 5 out of the top 10 most cited violation categories out of all occupations in general. And these citations are not just warnings; they mean that people were either seriously injured or died on the job site. If that doesn’t scare you, think about how your insurance will shoot through the roof and workers’ compensation will burn a hole in your pocket.
We know what you’re thinking, “but safety training is costly and takes time away from work.” Believe it or not, safety is the difference between a skilled craftsman and a professional painting company. Safe jobs mean uninterrupted work, clean and updated equipment, healthy workers, and satisfied customers. Investment in safety is a further investment in success. Contractors who know how to perform services in a clean, safe and organized manner are able to hire experienced professionals and book better customers.
Alpine takes safety very seriously. Every new employee is given both classroom and hands-on training that is supervised in our shop. Our workers are unable to step into the field until they have had their 10-hour OSHA training. Our training is done in house through our OSHA outreach trainer who is trained to teach both OSHA 10 and 30-hour courses. Here at Alpine, safety is a process and a system that is a part of our everyday operations. We believe that because of our ever-evolving safety program, we keep our employees healthy and therefore happy which allows us to keep an average employee retention rate of 5 to 10 years. This is a great attribute to our satisfied customers and our growing success.
Alpine wants you to remember that even if you are not experiencing first-hand symptoms right now, you may still be putting your health at risk. Lead and solvents are not a joking matter. These hazardous materials can cause serious irreversible damage. Take the safety precautions necessary to keep your good health for not only you, but your family, your crew, and your clients.