If you have an auto shop, it’s important to make safety a priority. Auto body shops aren’t devoid of hazards, and these things can hurt your customers or your employees. You need to be conscious of the risks of your shop so you can take steps to mitigate them. That being said, here are a few tips to help you lower the risk of something happening to either one of your employees or one of your customers.
Tips for customer safety.
1. Have a waiting area.
First of all, it’s probably a good idea to keep your customers away from the shop. You and your employees are aware of the risks of the shop floor, but your customers probably aren’t familiar with how shops work. Provide a waiting area so your customers can have a comfortable place to relax while they wait for their car to be ready.
2. Put up signs.
You’ve also need signs that will mark the shop and other areas as Employee Only. These signs should clearly state that the “off-limits” areas are for staff only, and they should explain the hazards.
3. Avoid taking customers into the shop area.
Unless it’s completely, absolutely necessary, avoid taking your customers back into the shop area. If you really must take a customer into the shop, make sure that the shop floor is clear of spills and trip hazards. Check for anything sharp that could cut someone. Make sure the shop is properly ventilated, too. Basically, look for anything that could hurt someone and make sure that the shop is safe as can be before bringing the customer back.
4. Check the flooring.
Whether you have tile, carpet, or another flooring material, make sure it’s in good repair. There shouldn’t be any holes or cracks that could cause someone to trip. This also extends to your parking lot and your sidewalk – check that the pavement is smooth and that there are no potential spots that could cause someone to fall. You don’t want anyone to take a spill in your parking lot.
(Also, make sure that you mark any steps to that people will be sure to see them.)
5. Mark the exits.
The exits should also be marked clearly. There should also be backup lighting just in case. People need to know where they need to go if there’s an emergency.
Safety tips for your employees.
1. Make sure employees don’t wear loose or bulky clothing.
Your employees should make sure that they avoid loose or bulky clothing. And they shouldn’t wear jewelry that could get caught in anything. Also, any employees that have long hair should tie it back so it doesn’t accidentally get caught in the moving parts of the cars. Someone could get really hurt if clothing or hair catches on something.
2. Wear eye and hearing protection.
Employees should also wear the appropriate eye protection so you can keep dirt, debris, metal pieces, and chemicals out of your eyes. It’s also important that your employees wear hearing protection, too – things can get loud at an auto shop, and you don’t want any of your workers to end up with hearing damage. Anyways, it’s important that your employees are encouraged to protect their eyes and ears.
3. Make sure your employees use breathing protection when needed.
If your employees are using chemicals or if they’re doing any sort of grinding or sanding work, they need to wear the appropriate breathing protection. It’s important that they’re not breathing in anything harmful.
4. Make sure employees are safe working around suspended vehicles.
If your employees work around suspended vehicles, they need to know how to ensure the vehicle is properly supported. You don’t want any cars to come crashing down while someone is trying to work on them. At any rate, make sure your employees are trained to recognize a car that is safely supported.
5. Employees should take care with electrical work.
It’s important that your employees take care when working with the electrical components of the vehicle. One of the battery cables should be disconnected or one of the power fuses should be taken out if someone’s doing electrical work to prevent a short that could cause a fire. And none of the electrical components should be disconnected while the car is on.
6. Watch the fuel lines.
Employees should also be careful when opening fuel lines if it’s a fuel-injected vehicle.
7. Employees should be properly trained.
You need to spend plenty of time with training your employees. They need to be familiar and comfortable with the tools they’re going to be using on the job. There are a lot of different tools and pieces of machinery in an auto shop, so your employees should know how to use the tools they’ll be expected to use.
(Speaking of training, make sure your employees are lifting properly. Improperly lifting a heavy load could cause back strain or injury.)
8. Have a no smoking policy.
Your employees shouldn’t be smoking around anything that has to do with fuel. Fuel, of course, is flammable. (Also, make sure they know to keep any sparks, smoking-related or not, away from batteries. These can explode because they contain hydrogen gas.)
9. Watch the radiator caps.
If the engine of a car is still hot, everyone in the shop should be clear on this – do not touch the radiator cap or open it. They need to wait for about an hour so that the engine will cool down.
10. Keep the work area clean.
Everyone should be careful to keep the shop area neat and tidy so that people don’t trip over anything. Encourage your employees to keep the floor clear and keep the shop clean.
So, those are a few tips for safety at your auto body shop – both for your customers and your employees! It’s also crucial to make sure you have the right auto shop insurance to protect your business. You can get started with quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.