Automobile repair services include inspections, maintenance, and repairs to vehicles. Repairs may require computer analysis, fluid changes, parts changes, or major mechanical work, exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards, chemicals, ergonomic strains, awkward postures, and tool and machinery safety concerns.
Get the proper training you need to safely use your equipment and tools. Get training, read, and understand the material safety data sheet on the chemicals you use. Know where emergency exits and equipment are located. Get fire extinguisher training. Emergency eyewash stations and showers should be available, easily accessible, and ready to use if you need them.
Wear proper personal protective equipment and clothing. Long sleeved coveralls protect your skin. Wear gloves when you work with chemicals. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with a non-slip sole. Don’t wear loose clothing, jewelry, or bulky gloves. Tie back long hair. Eye protection protects eyes from dirt, debris, and liquid splashes. Wear hearing protection when using pneumatic tools or doing loud tasks. Respiratory protection prevents inhaling dusts and fumes.
Pay special attention to mechanical hazards in the shop. Use caution with jacks and aerial lifts. Know the rated capacity and the weight and center of gravity of the vehicle. When you use a jack, test to see if the vehicle is supported before you work underneath. Use support stands to protect you if the vehicle falls. When you use the aerial lift, know the vehicle’s lift points to ensure a balanced and stable lift. Periodically inspect and maintain your jacks and lifts.
Other mechanical hazards include moving engine parts such as drive belts, pulleys, and fans. Know where these parts are and keep your hands clear of them. Don’t lean over or reach into the engine compartment while someone else is behind the ignition key or revving the engine. Watch for rotating parts that can pull in your hand, sleeve, and arm and cause severe injury. Take caution around air bag technology; disable it before you begin work.
Avoid burns; watch for hot engine and exhaust parts. Hot fluids can scald your skin; allow the engine to cool before you work with hot parts and fluids. Never open the radiator cap on a hot engine. Prevent shop fires. Don’t smoke around fuels or fuel-related parts. Don’t smoke or get sparks near the battery; it can give off explosive hydrogen. Use caution when working on fuel lines. Bleed line pressure and use a rag to absorb drips and sprays. Store flammable rags in fire-safety cans with self-closing lids.
Automotive work can require long days; pace yourself to prevent fatigue. Take frequent mini-breaks and rotate your work tasks throughout the day. Moving in and around a vehicle and reaching into cramped engine and electrical compartments may require awkward postures that can lead to ergonomic strains and sprains. Get the proper tools to allow you to reach your tasks comfortably and safely. Auto parts are heavy, so use proper lifting methods.