Rocking? Auto Garage Safety? Really?
Well, yeah, really. I mean, auto garage safety might not seem like the coolest, sexiest topic you’ve ever heard of, but I bet you want to keep your employees safe and working, right? And your customers happy and, you know, not suing you?
That got your attention? Good. Because that is what can happen if you have a slack, corner-cutting business that doesn’t take safety seriously.
According to these lawyers, over 15,000 on-the-job injuries happened to mechanics in 2015 alone. And they would know, because suing employers for workers comp related injuries is how many lawyers make a living.
So put on your gloves and adjust your oh-so-attractive protective eye gear, because it’s time to get our safety on.
And don’t forget to check out the MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP OF ALL at the end of the blog.
I can’t believe my boss made me wear this.
Eye Safety is Out of Sight
No one likes wearing those super hip safety goggles, or even the slimmer safety glasses. But eye accidents are no joke, and they can happen at any time in a busy auto body shop.
According to the disturbingly (but honestly!) named PreventBlindness.org, “[m]ore than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day.” 10-20% percent of those injuries will end up causing vision loss.
And 90% could have been prevented by wearing eye protection.
So it may not be the coolest thing around, but letting your people work without eye protection when they are doing anything that sends metal, liquids, or dust flying into the air is just asking for trouble.
Especially when a permanent disability like blindness could result. You know what phrase has lawyers licking their lips? “Permanent disability.”
Keep your people safe and happy by requiring eye protection when working on a vehicle. It may not be super hip, but it is super important. If you need more info, check out the OSHA standards on eye and face safety.
Skateboard almost sanded… glad I don’t have to wear this at work.
Breathe the Safety In
Mechanics deal with a lot of substances every day that are hard to take – in the lungs that is.
Gasoline, vehicle exhaust, paint fumes, motor oil, lubricants, dust and fine powders from sanding or scraping – the list goes on and on of things that can be inhaled at a garage.
If your auto body shop or service center doesn’t have a policy on masks, then you are asking for a whole world of hurt. Often these injuries build up over time and you don’t know they are there until it is too late.
Masks come in all shapes and sizes and are incredibly inexpensive. Even slipping on a simple particulate respirator can do wonders for a person who is working with hazardous substances or floating debris from body work.
A common problem is that some of your employees may be used to not wearing anything over their mouths when working on a car or truck. Habits of a lifetime die hard, so make sure your safety rules are in place and are upheld.
This is another area where injuries can end up disabling someone permanently. And that’s the last thing we want to happen to our people.
According to Healthline.com, humans should avoid:
- Don’t stand by exhaust pipes.
- Don’t stand around gas fumes.
- Don’t operate engines in enclosed areas.
Um, does that sound like a job description to you?
Maybe I’ll just reach in there and…
When Safety Fits you like a Glove
Working on cars and trucks is a hands-on kind of thing. You can’t sit back and type on a computer or have a nice conversation with a classic Mustang to fix it’s engine.
And the stuff you’re touching is often dangerous. One site says:
Car repair can also be brutal on the hands. Mechanics routinely grab pieces of hot, sharp metal, often dripping with nasty chemicals. A recent study reported that 28 percent of auto mechanics had experienced more than 20 cuts on their hands in the previous year.
Skin conditions from repeated exposure to harsh chemicals is normal. Cuts and bruises are commonplace. And it isn’t that unheard of to know someone that is missing a finger.
Safety gloves should be a standard feature in an auto body shop, yet they are almost never seen. They can prevent wear on the skin, help stop burns and small cuts, and even prevent electrocution if they are made of the right material.
Some of your employees will think you’re crazy, especially if they are doing something that requires a delicate touch or feel. Luckily, there are gloves that are thin enough to allow them to do their work while still offering some basic protection.
The bottom line is that you need to protect hands in this business, no matter how silly it may seem.
And the most important way you can help your employees is…
Let me show you what I mean by “squirrelly.”
Safety is a Trained Behavior
The men and women in your garage create habits based on how they are shown to do their jobs. Left unsupervised, they will make up their own ways of doing things, or do it like they did in their last job (or like they do at home!).
Training is the #1 way of preventing injuries in an auto body garage. No matter what kind of shop you run, how many people you employ, or how many locations you have, the right training program can help make your people safer every day.
Having a set of standards for how tasks are performed can help limit injuries from improper lifting, dangerous and risky repair techniques, tool usage, and equipment malfunction.
Instituting safety training can also help your staff get used to wearing protective gear, cleaning up hazards, and preventing unsafe environments.
A checklist like this one can help you see what you may or may not be doing for safety. Creating a safety or prevention program could save you not only the emotional stress of a workplace accident, but a ton of money if something happens and you are sued.
Teaching your mechanics and staff to use safe techniques for all tasks makes it less likely you will be dealing with a workers comp claim.
Or a lawyer.
Are You Covered if Something Happens?
If something does happen, are you covered fully by your workers comp policy? Have you talked to your agent about it recently?
What if a customer gets hurt on your property. How would that be covered on your Garage Insurance policy?
You owe it to yourself to speak with one of the Garage Insurance experts here at Alliance Insurance.
Chase Smith and Cody Jackson have helped businesses just like yours stay safe while helping their employees steer clear of accidents and injuries.
Click the link below and schedule a time to talk now.