On the Job Safety for Automotive Repair Shops & Mechanics
Spend much time in an automotive repair shop and you’ll gain a new appreciation for the phrase “moving parts.” These shops are full of hazards. Mechanics suffer eye injuries, lacerations, and burns on a frequent basis. Historically, this profession ranks as one of the top 20 in reportable injuries.
From routine oil changes to major rebuilds, mechanics are in close proximity with moving belts and blades, hot parts, and pressurized systems every day. Simply changing a tire requires the use of a torque wrench. Strain/sprain injuries are common for auto mechanics due to the physical nature of stretching into hard-to-reach engine compartments and torqueing away on wrenches.
For auto mechanics, burns are frequently the result of contact with hot oil, transmission fluid, coolants, grease, or spot welding. Corrosives, oils (fresh and waste), fluids, solvents, and lubricants are stored on site, often in bulk. Rubber tires, oily rags, and batteries all pose safety hazards. Vehicles inside the shop have gas or diesel in the tanks. More than one automotive shop has burned to the ground due to electrical short. These fires rage quickly out of control with the abundance of accelerants on site.
Spills require immediate cleanup. Tools should be maintained in toolboxes and not strewn around the shop floor. Air hoses should be properly coiled and stored. Customers should not be permitted to walk through the shop area. Flammables should be stored in appropriate cabinets. Oxygen and acetylene tanks should be chained upright on caddies. Hoists and lifts should be inspected routinely. Eyewash stations, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers should be located in highly visible, easily accessible areas. Labels should remain affixed to all chemicals and employees should be trained in hazardous communications.
Good housekeeping can make a substantial difference in reducing the risk of injury and improving the safety performance of automotive repair shops. Are you doing enough to protect your automotive shop?
Does your company have formal safety policies in place? Are you responsible for workforce safety or risk management? Call us at ((816) 349-0850 to see how we can help design a safety and risk management plan that meets your unique needs.