While painters may not face the same hazards as logging or electrical workers, they still face many of the same dangers as other construction workers. Any workplace injury can be painful, inconvenient, and have life-long consequences, such as a disability. Fortunately, painters can receive compensation for their pain and loss of income under New York’s workers’ compensation laws.
If you or a loved one has been injured while working as a painter, don't suffer in silence. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your legal options in a free consultation.
Certain accidents and injuries are more common for workers in construction than others. Painters often find themselves in construction environments - even if much of the building is built before they show up. Here are some common risks painters face:
- Slip-and-falls: Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents people face. Construction sites contain more fall risks, since walkways are often obstructed and large tools are in use. Painters must be aware of where they step and walk, and should always watch out for tripping hazards.
- Falls from ladders: While all construction workers must be mindful of falls from scaffolds and ladders, painters spend more time on ladders than a lot of other workers.
- Eye injuries: Many professions require eye protection, and painting is no exception. Many of chemicals used by painters, including paints and thinners, can cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Due to the nature of their work, painters undergo certain risks every day. The following injuries are unique for painters:
- Chemical exposure: The same chemicals that can cause eye injuries can also be dangerous when inhaled. Painters, especially when prepping an area for paint, are exposed to dust and toxins that can cause lung irritation or damage if breathed in.
- Repetitive stress injuries: Painters do a lot of lifting and lowering of materials and paint buckets, and tend to make repeated motions while performing their jobs. Over time, these repetitive motions and stressors on the body can cause overuse injuries, especially to the soft tissue.
- Rotator cuff tears: Muscle strains and tears to the rotator cuff and general shoulder area are a special concern for painters. Minor tears - often caused due to repetitive stress on the area - can require a few weeks to heal, and serious tears - such as those from a fall - may require surgery to correct.
There are established ways to minimize a painter’s exposure to toxic chemicals and prevent serious injuries, but it is necessary for employers take proper steps to ensure these safety procedures are followed.
In 2018, OSHA revealed 10 commonly sited violations for construction sites and 5 directly pertain to painting injuries:
- Fall Protection: Depending on the height of the project, painters can be at risk for severe injuries from falling. Employers are required to ensure the premises can properly support all employees when walking or working, and maintain guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems.
- Ladders: Painters are expected to use ladders to paint hard to reach locations, often while carrying their equipment or overextending themselves. Making sure the ladder is stable and properly supported before climbing onto it can help prevent major falls.
- Scaffolding: Scaffolds are often built at higher levels than ladders and require stronger support to maintain the weight of both the workers and their equipment. As such, they must be properly accessed by the supervisor or general contractor ensure they meet certified safety standards.
- Eye Protection: Many of the chemicals used by painters can cause severe damage if they get in the eyes, and all employees should provide proper eye protection.
- Respiratory Protection: The same chemicals that cause eye damage may also cause lung damage if inhaled. Painters should check their safety masks for tears or punctures and report any issues to their supervisors.
Anytime safety guidelines are violated, employees are put at risk for severe injuries. Maintaining the safety of a property, whether it is an independent business or construction site, is the responsibility of the general contractor overseeing the project. If any of these safety regulations are violated at the time of an accident, you may have a case for a personal injury claim.
When assessing liability in construction accidents, it is important to establish who was in control at the time of the accident. Often, the general contractor or supervisor is in charge of maintaining the safety of the construction site. If they do not keep the site free of hazards or ensure that all scaffolding and ladders are in perfect working order, they may be liable for any injuries sustained by a painter.
Unlike most construction accidents, painting accidents can happen outside of a traditional construction site, such as an individual’s home or a business that is undergoing renovations. In these scenarios, the owner of the property can be held liable if their negligence caused an accident or injury, such as exposing a painter to asbestos or failing to warn them about a broken handrail on a staircase.
Third parties may also be at fault for a painter’s injuries. Construction sites and renovations often involve a variety of subcontractors all working at the same time, often without clear communication between each other. If one of these subcontractors caused an accident as a result of negligence, you could file a claim against their company.
Manufacturers of painting chemicals and tools, such as hoses and spray-painting nozzles, must also abide by all safety regulations. Failure to issue recalls on faulty equipment and can be cause for liability. Third-party claims are significantly more complicated and will require the help of an expert lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been injured while working as a painter, it can be easy to feel like you have no place to turn. But nothing could be further from the truth. You have options available to receive compensation for your injuries, to make sure you can continue to pay bills and maintain your lifestyle. Please call a New York construction injury lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to talk about what you should do next.
NY Painter Injury Verdicts & Settlements
$7.25 Million Recovery - Union-Affiliated Painter Injured on Scaffolding
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