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Breathing In the Fumes: Painter Safety Concerns

Painting can be a dangerous job, especially when you take into account the sheer number of risks involved in an average paint job — heights, unsafe locations, toxic chemicals and more. Painters who work for a company may enjoy some measure of protection under their employers’ safety standards, but only if those standards are actively met and kept up-to-date by company administrators.

When safety standards fall by the wayside, the hazards associated with any paint job may be multiplied because there are no guards in place to protect the workers.

A Local Incident Sheds Light On the Issue

In a recent local case, a painter employed by Craftsman Painting and Decorators Inc. requested a respirator mask to protect him from breathing in harsh or dangerous chemicals as he worked. His boss refused to provide the mask, and when he complained about her response, he was fired. The company told him they had no obligation to provide their workers with safety equipment on the job.

The worker, who is studying to apply for medical school, said that he suffered from dizziness, a sore throat and shortness of breath shortly after he left Craftsman and blamed the chemicals that he had come into contact with while on the job.

When he opened a workers’ compensation claim against the company, the worker had a list of safety problems that put him and his fellow co-workers at risk every day. The ladders provided by the company were old and broken and often too short to reach the heights required for particular jobs. When the worker complained about these, he claimed his boss told him he was being dramatic.

Setting the Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the guidelines for employers by requiring that businesses and companies provide as many safety features as possible for their employees. OSHA also prohibits employers from charging their employees for safety equipment.

For painters employed by a company or institution, the risks can be great, and the reward or protection from the employers may not be enough. Many painting companies do not provide their employees with health benefits, which gives them even more chance to develop health conditions and problems.

One way that companies get around any OSHA requirements is by hiring individuals as independent contractors, which often keeps them from being entitled to benefits and health insurance. While this may work out well for the employers, it puts the employees at risk for increased health issues and other dangers.

At Levine Law, we represent any employee who has been injured on the job or as a result of the conditions he or she was in during employment. Your employer has a responsibility to ensure your safety as much as possible, and you have a right to enjoy security in your position and ask for heightened safety features within your company.

For more information regarding workplace safety and your legal options, contact a Denver workers’ compensation attorney at our firm for a consultation today.

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