Auto repair shops have many inherent hazards that need to be monitored and handled in order to minimize insurance risks. Each of the following tips will help you to maintain automotive repair shop safety for you and your employees.
Ensure that your auto repair shop is compliant with OSHA standards by obtaining Material Safety and Data Sheets from manufacturers of products you use in your shop. These data sheets will also help managers and employees know how to safely store and handle hazardous material at all times. Display all MSDS posters in prominent locations on the shop floor, rather than hiding them away behind cupboard doors or in drawers.
Flammable liquids should be safely stored in fire-rated cabinets. Within the cabinet, every flammable liquid should have a specific place where it is stored with a corresponding label. In that way, if a flammable liquid is out of place at the end of the workday, it will be patently obvious which one is missing from the fire-rated cabinet.
Oily rags or those that have been saturated with flammable liquids should be stored separately from other items to avoid spontaneous combustion and fire. Keep used rags in a metal bin with an attached cover to reduce or eliminate a fire hazard. Launder such rags on a daily basis or dispose of properly on a daily basis.
Space heaters present a hazard when operated near areas of welding, painting, and storage of flammables. Avoid the use of space heaters entirely. If that’s impossible due to weather conditions, limit the use of space heaters to distant corners of the auto repair shop and keep a clear parameter around the space heater several feet or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Never try to circumvent local and national laws regarding hazardous waste disposal. Adhere to all such regulations regarding waste of motor oil, tires, auto parts, etc. On-site, motor oil should be carefully contained in a closed container made of suitable material until it can be removed from the premises for recycling or other disposals.
Appropriately rated fire extinguishers should be easily accessible to all employees in the auto repair shop. Each location with a fire extinguisher should be clearly indicated in a manner that is visible even in the dark. In particular, place fire extinguishers on mobile welding carts, and in each bay near the cars’ engines.
Make sure that managers and supervisors understand that no employee is to undertake certain tasks such as welding, spray painting, etc., without completing proper training and certification. This is an important policy to adhere to, even when schedule glitches may hold up a project due to not having appropriately trained personnel on duty.
Employees should be easily identifiable with uniforms and name badges to ensure that unauthorized persons are never on the shop floor. Uniform shirts should be tucked in ideally, to minimize accidents from shirttails catching on containers or equipment. The wearing of uniform shoes with requisite skid-resistant rubber soles should be enforced to minimize the chance of slip and falls and/or electrical accidents.
Don’t allow smoking in or near the shop floor. Smoldering cigarettes are a hazard, as are stray sparks from matches and lighters. To assist in the enforcement of this rule, designate a smoking area in a far away, outside area of the lot and any storage containers, complete with metal canisters for cigarette disposal.
Every aspect of your automotive repair shop safety as mentioned above will essentially include: