In today’s auto shop there are many potential hazards to the fragile human body. In order to have a safe and productive work environment, there are simple steps that need to be taken in order to insure the physical safety of everyone in your automotive service shop. There are many tools and pieces of equipment in use that can potentially seriously injure someone. The first step is to take census of your auto or mechanical shop and locate machinery and tools that can be potentially hazardous. Any machine or tool that can cause a serious injury must be safeguarded. For example, a band saw is common tool in a mechanical shop and has the ability to cut off fingers and limbs. This piece of equipment needs to be safeguarded and all applicable safety features should be correctly installed. It is all too common to the plastic safety guards removed on a table saw because they are in the way of the operator. Safety cannot be sacrificed for convenience.
But remember machinery is not the only hazard, you need to be aware of in the shop. The power cords and air hoses that power equipment also presents a tripping hazard. Many auto shops have several air hoses and power cords stretched all over the place and most of them are not even being used at the moment. To combat this problem and help keep your shop floor clutter free we recommend using an air hose reel. Air hose reels are mounted on the shop walls and are usually self retracting. When a mechanic finishes working with his air tools, the air hose can be retracted and stored with a quick tug on the hose. There are similar devices for extension cords as well. Lets face it, a mechanic is much more inclined to keep his air hoses and power cords retracted if its easy and an air hose reel makes it easy. Also, spilled grease oil and oil can collect on a shop floor and produce a slipping hazard. It is inevitable that motor oil and grease will end up on the concrete floor. Most auto shops have containment spill kits that can contain the oil spill and aid in cleaning it up the minute it happens.
The next level of safety is the person. Once the auto shop is a safe and secure environment, you will need to consider the mechanics and other workers in the area. Eye protection should be worn at all times. There is almost always some type of work going on that is a potential hazard your fragile eyes. For example, grinders and needle scalers are capable of throwing debris a long way from the point of contact. People working in the same area are in just as much danger is the operator using the tool. Also, chemicals and gasoline can be splashed onto unprotected eyes causing anything from mild discomfort to blindness.
Hand and feet protection is usually fairly obvious. Most mechanics wear gloves to prevent burns and cutting while working on automobile. But gloves are also needed for a variety of other tasks as well. Do not handle chemicals and solvents with out wearing gloves and remember to remove watches and other jewelry as well. Always be aware of where you fingers are especially when lifting heavy objects. It may seem obvious but it is all too common to crush your fingers by letting a heavy object down on them. Mechanics gloves are a great choice when you need to work with small parts and tools. Mechanics gloves are light and tight fitting on your hand. This allows you to feel the parts and tools and still maintain protection. For your feet, there are advanced mechanic shoes that help you gain traction on oily floors and boots with steel toes to protect you from heavy objects.
Safety in the auto shop requires some basic common sense and attention to detail. A safe work environment is a combination of both the work area and the workers themselves. It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure the proper safety gear is worn and the rules are followed.
Jason has been in the construction equipment and industrial sales business for over 10 years. He owns and operates Red Hill Supply to better serve the automotive and industrial industries. – Automotive Tools