If you’re in charge at an auto shop, it’s very important to make sure everyone stays safe on the job. There are a few basics that are important to uphold. Since your employees are such a significant resource and part of your business, they need to be protected from the risks that come with working around cars. Being aware of the hazards can be really helpful. Here are a few tips.
Tips for safety while working at an auto shop.
1. Protect eyes and ears.
It’s really important that employees protect their eyes and ears. Having the proper eye protection can help their eyes safe from debris, metal chips, chemicals, and so on. And hearing protection can protect their hearing from being around all the loud noises. Everybody in the shop needs to be protecting their vision and hearing. You don’t want anyone to hurt their ears or get anything in their eyes.
2. Have appropriate guidelines for dress.
No one should wear loose clothes or jewels. And no bulky gloves, either. You don’t want to have someone get their clothes caught in something. And it also means that people with long hair should tie it back – again, so that it doesn’t get caught or tangled in anything. There are a lot of moving parts involved with cars, of course, and everyone has to take care.
3. Have breathing protection.
It’s also important for your employees to protect their lungs and their breathing when needed. (That could mean, for example, wearing an NIOSH-approved mask.) And if they’re doing any grinding or sanding, they should wear dust masks. It can be hard on the lungs to be around cars, breathing in harmful things. So, be sure to protect yourselves with the proper masks.
4. Make sure people know not to crawl under an improperly supported vehicle.
When a car is lifted, no one should be crawling around under it if it’s not properly supported. That can be very dangerous, of course. Everyone should know how to check that the car is safe and supported right before going anywhere near it. Anyways – no going underneath unsafe cars. That’s just a no.
5. Make sure no one is pushing themselves too hard.
As a manager, you should let your employees know that they can speak up if they feel they can’t perform a task safely due to a physical limitation. Everyone should know that they can let you know about these things. You want to keep everyone safe on the job. Your employees need to know that you’re on their side. People should feel safe and comfortable performing the tasks that go with the job.
6. Train everyone.
It’s also important to make sure everyone is properly trained on the tools they have to use on the job. They need to know the tools’ purpose – what they’re intended to do. They need to know the capabilities of these things. And along with that, they need to know the limitations of the tools. The tools necessary for working on cars can be dangerous.
7. Keep the shop neat.
It’s also really important to keep the shop tidy and clean. You don’t want anyone to trip and fall. So, make sure that everyone knows to keep the floor clear of hazards. There are a lot of reasons to commit to keeping the shop organized and clean.
8. Take care with the electrical work.
Electrical work can be tricky, so your employees should know about the following:
- Disconnecting one of the battery cables or removing power fuses while doing electrical work. (This can prevent fires and wiring damage.)
- Not disconnecting or unplugging electrical connectors if the engine is on.
- When working on a steering column or around the instrument panel, disconnect the battery. Then wait 15 minutes before doing wiring tests. If the wires are crossed, jumped, or shorted, the airbags could go off, causing injury.
(And you should also take care when opening the fuel-lines of a vehicle that’s fuel-injected.)
9. Other car safety considerations.
There are also a few other considerations to keep in mind when working with cars.
- No sparks near the car batteries. (Those contain explosive hydrogen gas. Sparks and hydrogen gas are not a great combination.)
- Don’t open the radiator cap if the engine is still hot. It needs to cool for at least an hour.
- Be careful of any moving parts.
- No smoking while working on fuel-related things (i.e. the fuel filter, carburetor, or fuel injector.)
Anyways, auto shops can be dangerous places. It’s extremely important to keep the shop safe for your customers and your employees. Everyone needs to know shop safety and how to manage dangers or working around cars.
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