Care and Attention

Care and Attention
Establishing safe working practices is essential for successful shop operation. (Photo: Huw Evans)

We are ALL responsible—employers, supervisors and employees—for preventing workplace illness and injury.

Every day, we open our doors and our attention to protect our customers from injury by posting signs to keep out of the service bays for insurance reasons and to protect ourselves from lawsuits.

But what about our employees? Do we provide the necessary personal protective equipment and dress to protect arms and legs from cuts, scrapes and burns? Avoid wearing loose clothing that could get caught in machines or equipment? Require that employees tie back any long hair and remove body jewelry before working with machinery? We need to make sure our employees have all the appropriate protective equipment, including safety glasses, chemical-resistant gloves and kneepads. Ensure that employees use the safety equipment when it is required.

Handling chemicals

All chemicals used in the shop should be properly labeled with safety information. Keeping safety data sheets for all chemicals present should be a must. The shop should also have a functioning eyewash station in case of emergency.

We should also ensure that all employees know the location of the electrical shut-off, as well as how to operate it. Any electrical equipment with frayed cords should be repaired or replaced to prevent electrocution and electrical fire.

All fire extinguishers should also be marked, charged and checked monthly for expiration. Shops should ensure employees are trained on the proper use of fire extinguishers and the proper techniques for combating different types of fires. Make sure an evacuation plan is posted and understood by all workers. Exits should be clearly marked and free of obstacles.

Properly qualified

Shop owners and managers should also ensure that all employees who operate motor vehicles are properly licensed, and that they use safety belts while test driving and operating them. Engaging the parking brake and securing the vehicle before working on it should also be a priority. Technicians should remove the keys before performing mechanical work and disconnect the battery before performing work to a vehicle’s electrical system.

Safe workplace habits can greatly reduce the potential for injury in the automotive repair industry, yet it needs to be a team effort. Providing regular safety and equipment training can have a huge impact. Additionally, shops should always ensure only trained and certified technicians are authorized to repair vehicles.

Keeping the shop floor free of clutter to minimize the risk of tripping and using “wet floor” signs after cleaning or spills should also be a priority. When a tool or piece of equipment requires repair, it needs to be tagged so employees don’t use it by accident. Do not allow workers to smoke on or near the shop floor.

All of these factors may seem routine, but you may be surprised at how often they can be overlooked, especially when things are busy in the shop.

Cannabis Act

With the new “Cannabis Act” employers now have to be aware of employees who may use it and the effects of Cannabis in the workplace.

To buy, use or possess cannabis you must be of legal age (18 or 19 or older, depending on your province and territory).

Because Cannabis can impair a person’s ability to operate vehicles or equipment safely recognition, it must not be used before or during work. Driving or operating machinery while impaired by cannabis or any other drug is a serious criminal offence.

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