Being an auto mechanic requires a multitude of skills from dexterity and efficient problem solving to clear communication, meticulous attention to detail and, of course, a keen knowledge of automotive parts and how they function and work together. Working in an auto repair shop also requires an understanding of safety and maintaining a safe, hygienic, low-risk environment. This is especially important since workers are in the presence of hazardous chemicals, dangerous tools, and heavy objects.
Preventing injuries to employees, customers and even the vehicles undergoing service is key in the repair shop.
Tips for mechanics and employees to stay safe in the auto shop
Always wear the proper protective gear
Wearing appropriate protective gear is among the top safety measures mechanics must abide by when working in an auto garage. Items to wear include:
- Shielding uniforms to guard your body from dangerous chemicals, flames and extreme temperatures
- Ear protection for using noisy equipment to prevent potential hearing loss (Newsflash: Auto shops are LOUD!)
- Safety goggles to prevent eye injury when welding or working with chemicals
- Steel toe work boots, especially ones with non-slip soles, to reduce the risk of losing your balance and to protect your feet from chemicals and sparks
- Thick gloves to protect your hands and avoid painful burns
Keep the work area clean and organized
A messy, unkept or dirty garage can pose a great deal of danger. To minimize risk of injuries, be sure to:
- Stow away all tools in their proper cabinets and shelves.
- Clean up any spilled oils, transmission fluids and other liquids immediately to prevent slips.
- Sweep up other spills, sawdust and debris daily – better yet, throughout the day.
- Always keep the garage floor and walkways clear of hazardous objects and materials.
- Properly dispose of rags used during the repair sessions.
- Remove all clutter and excess items – especially flammable materials such as boxes and papers. Keep them in an office, the reception area or another separate storage room instead.
Inspect equipment regularly
Ensure all equipment is in proper working order. If a machine ceases to function or breaks, especially in the middle of a job, serious injury can occur. Common equipment in an auto garage that should be inspected on a frequent basis include:
- Vehicle lifts
- Engine hoists
- Air compressors
- Jacks and jack stands
- Oil drains and caddies
- Battery chargers
- Work benches
If you’re not exactly sure about how to inspect a specific tool or piece equipment, ask your supervisor for assistance or consult the handbook. If you’re uncertain about how to repair a tool or machine, rather than risking injury, wait until you have the proper professional resources to help.
Avoid smoking, eating or drinking in or near the garage
Auto shops contain lots of vehicles, which are filled with flammable and combustible fluids. If these chemicals encounter open flames or hot ash from cigarettes, they could catch fire. Never smoke anywhere near cars being worked on, let alone anywhere in or around the work area. It’s also critical to never eat or drink on the shop floor. Foods and beverages can become contaminated with hazardous chemicals, resulting in inadvertent poisoning.
Auto garages help keep vehicles running smoothly and elongate their time on the road. When mechanics follow the safety guidelines, the jobs are completed in a timely, efficient manner and customers are more satisfied with the repairs.
Investing in business insurance helps keep people and objects safe and provides auto garage owners and mechanics with peace of mind in case of an emergency. To learn more about finding the right business insurance for your auto repair shop, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.