Every day that you open your shop doors, you strive to provide a safe work environment for your employees. To reduce the risk of accidents and improve the productivity of your shop, you need to establish a culture of safety. It isn’t enough to say you’re committed to shop safety; you need to act upon your words.
The first step to creating a safe work environment is to get everyone in the shop to buy into the concept of shop safety. From the shop manager to the technicians, everyone plays a role in establishing a safe work environment. Having all employees cognizant of the importance of shop safety and dedicated to doing their part to maintain a safe shop is a great start. Check out the following tips that you can implement to keep your workers safe on the job.
A safe shop doesn’t just happen; it takes training to ensure that technicians practice safe habits in the workplace. All employees should be trained in the safe use of all equipment and know what to do in an emergency situation. Make safety training a part of your shop culture by holding periodic lunch-and-learn sessions.
Promote the use of safety equipment
Actively encourage techs to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment for every repair job they do. Safety glasses, gloves and respirators should be standard in your shop. Consider posting a sign reminding workers to wear safety glasses and to use other safety equipment.
Choose the right uniform
Keep safety in mind when choosing a uniform for your technicians. Be sure that it is not loose or sloppy; baggy clothing can get caught on equipment and pose a hazard when leaning into the engine compartment. Insist that employees wear closed-toe shoes, ideally with slip resistance and a reinforced toe.
Encourage techs to leave jewelry such as rings, chains and necklaces at home. This eliminates the threat of something getting caught in machinery or in the car engine. Keep long hair tied back or covered to prevent it from becoming a hazard.
Sweep it up
Prevent falls and slips by keeping the shop floor clean at all times. Establish a regular cadence of cleaning the floor between each job. Immediately attend to any fluid spill to keep everyone safe. Keep brooms, mops, rags and vacuums within easy reach.
Keep work benches clear
Keep all work benches and service bays clear of trash, used parts and other clutter. All tools should be stored in a designated spot and put away immediately after a job is completed. Picking up tools and other materials can go a long way in preventing injuries.
Keep safety top of mind by posting signs with reminders related to shop safety. It sounds trite, but sayings like safety is no accident, safety starts with you, and be alert to prevent accidents, keeps everyone thinking about safety. Display a sign touting how many days the shop has been accident free – no one wants to be the reason the number goes to 0!
Enact a strict no-smoking policy on or near the shop floor. Sparks from lighters and smoldering cigarettes are a hazard. Designate a smoking area in a spot that is far enough away from the shop to prevent any accidental fires.
Display MSDS sheets
Post Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) for all hazardous products used in your shop. Posting these sheets not only keeps the shop compliance with OSHA standards, but it helps workers to know how to safely handle dangerous materials.
Install multiple fire extinguishers
Place fire extinguishers in multiple spots around the shop. Make sure the extinguishers are appropriately rated for an auto shop setting and train all employees on their proper use. Place an extinguisher on all welding carts and in each service bay.
Prevent fire or spontaneous combustion by keeping rags that are soaked in oil or other flammable liquids separate from other items. Wash or dispose of these rags on a daily basis.
Consider upgrading your shop’s floor to one that offers stain, chemical and slip resistance. Spills are going to happen; having the right floor in place can go a long way in keeping the service area safe for everyone.