Like all construction workers, painters face hazards on the job, and some that are particular to their trade. In addition to the risk of falling from ladders or scaffolding, they are routinely exposed to toxic substances, and may be exposed to asbestos, bacteria, fungi, and mold. The job requires repetitive heavy lifting, kneeling, stretching, and reaching that can damage the musculoskeletal system over time. Painters who suffer workplace injuries may be entitled to compensation.
Painters can be injured on the job in several ways:
- Falls from heights, a common accident for painters, can cause traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and paralysis, fractured bones, internal organ damage, and death.
- Exposure to toxic substances, such as paint products, solvents, lead, asbestos, mold, and bacteria from bird and rodent droppings can cause serious eye injuries and a host of health problems.
- Repetitive heavy lifting, stretching, straining, and kneeling can cause long-term damage to the neck, shoulders, back, elbows, and knees.
- Painters are susceptible to common construction site dangers, including falling objects, electrical hazards, combustible or flammable materials, and hearing loss from working near loud machinery.
Many factors can contribute to fall-related injuries among painters. Some of the leading causes include:
- Improper construction of scaffolding: It can be dangerous for painters when scaffolding has sloping or slippery platforms, missing base plates, broken frame pins, or missing guardrails or braces.
- Lack of fall restraint systems and safety gear: Nets, harnesses, and other safety precautions should be in place when painters are working at elevations to prevent potentially catastrophic or fatal accidents.
- Defective or poorly maintained ladders: When ladders fail because of manufacturing defects, painters can be seriously injured. The same applies when ladder maintenance is neglected. All paint, mud, debris, and soot should be removed from ladders, and they should be routinely inspected for damage or defects.
- Slip or trip and fall hazards on the site: Equipment, tools, open holes, debris, and spills can cause multiple slipping and tripping hazards on construction sites.
Falls are the leading cause of construction worker deaths in the U.S. In 2020, there were 351 fatal falls to a lower level, as reported by OSHA. Falls from ladders account for a significant percentage of work-related falls. Some common-sense safety precautions can help prevent ladder accidents:
- Inspect ladders thoroughly before every use. Clearly mark and isolate any damaged ladders.
- Place ladders on stable, even ground.
- Allow only one worker at a time on a ladder. Never exceed the maximum load.
- When transporting ladders, make sure they are properly secured.
- Keep ladder rungs free of oil, grease, and any substance that could cause a worker to slip and fall.
- Wear protective clothing when working on ladders, including a hard hat and rubber-soled shoes.
- Never overextend over, under, or to either side when working on a ladder.
Unless they are self-employed, painters injured on the job should be entitled to workers compensation benefits to cover their medical expenses and partially reimburse them for their lost wages. In certain cases, painters may have a third-party claim against a construction company, contractor, building owner, or manufacturer. Damages in such a claim may include medical and rehabilitation expenses, past and future lost income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, or wrongful death.
Your best chance of recovering the maximum compensation available is to have an experienced New York work injury lawyer by your side. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation. We can explain your options under the law.