Work Smart, Keep It Safe
Independent garages play a vital role in keeping our vehicles running smoothly and the wheels of the nation turning, however it’s important to remember that repairing motor vehicles can present various health and safety risks.
Garage technicians work in a high-risk environment that involves use of heavy machinery, sharp tools, and chemicals. Because of this, it is important garages comply with the strict health and safety guidelines. It’s essential to be aware of these risks and have the necessary safe working practices in place to ensure a safe working environment for all staff.
Here are some safety tips that garages can follow:
1. Hazardous materials:
Garages often handle hazardous materials such as lubricants, coolants, and brake fluids etc. These chemicals can be dangerous if they come into contact with skin or are inhaled. It’s important to follow the proper handling and storage procedures outlined in the manufacturer’s instructions and that the appropriate datasheets are readily available.
2. Fire safety:
With the use of flammable chemicals in car servicing and repairs, fire safety is a must. Ensure that your garage is equipped with appropriate fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and that all staff is trained in their use.
3. Vehicle lifting:
Lifting heavy vehicles and accessing under-vehicle components are common tasks in car garages. Failure to follow proper lifting procedures or use of inadequate lifting equipment could result in serious injuries to employees. It’s essential to provide suitable equipment for the tasks in hand, conduct regular inspections and maintenance, and follow the operating instructions.
4. Personal protective equipment:
It’s important that garage staff wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk to health and prevent accidents. Proper PPE includes gloves, respiratory protection, safety glasses, and work boots.
5. Electrical hazards:
With the use of electrical tools and equipment in garages, there’s also the associated electrical risks. It’s vital to ensure that all equipment is in good condition and that there are no exposed wires, and to use a qualified electrician to conduct regular safety checks.
6. Slips, trips, and falls:
Garages can be busy environments with lots of potential hazards. This can present a risk of slips, trips, and falls. Make sure that all workers are aware of their individual responsibility to keep their working environment safe for themselves and others and in the event of any spillages appropriate signage is available and that they cleaned up promptly.
7. Keep the garage clean:
A clean garage is essential for a safe workplace. Garages should be free of clutter, tools should be cleaned and returned to their proper place, and spills should be cleaned up immediately. New and displaced parts should be stored appropriately and if electric vehicles are being repair appropriate signage is in place.
8. Maintain equipment:
Regular maintenance of equipment is important to ensure everything is working properly. Poorly maintained machinery, tools, or equipment can lead to serious injury. A technician’s job is to fix and maintain cars, but they should also be taking care of their equipment as well their working environment.
9. Know emergency procedures:
In the event of an emergency, it’s important for garage staff to know what to do. Your team should know the location of fire extinguishers, how to use them, and know what to do in case of a fire. They should also know how to shut off the electricity, gas, and water supply in case of an emergency.
Establishing a formal Health and Safety induction where new staff are shown emergency procedures, fire exits, as well as fire extinguisher locations and guidelines is a valuable and potentially life-saving action to implement for your entire team.
By taking these health and safety considerations seriously, garages can provide a safe environment for both staff and customers. It’s important to ensure all staff are properly trained, equipment is in good working order, and procedures are in place to minimise risks.
Safety should never be an afterthought for any business; it’s important for everyone to prioritise the health and safety in their workplace and it should be engrained into your operating practices.
Supporting your health and safety procedures
Understanding and implementing Health & Safety requirements can be time consuming and complex, but non-compliance with the regulations can place your staff and business at risk as well as lead to substantial fines, or even closure of your business.
The RMI’s Health and Safety Service aims to ensure all of its members full comply with the many complex legislative demands placed upon modern repair businesses.
Our structured assessment and monitoring system is designed to cater specifically for the motor industry.
Our team of qualified, experienced Health & Safety professionals will deliver a bespoke service with regular visits to update your documentation, keep you up to date with the latest legislation and proactively develop the safety culture in your business. This service will also help to protect your business against costly Fee for Intervention charges if breaches are identified should your business be the subject of an HSE inspection.
Our Services Include:
- Risk Assessment
- COVID-19 support
- COSHH Assessment
- Fire Risk Assessment
- Health & Safety Accident Book
- Health & Safety Legislation updates
- Health & Safety policy and statement
- PPE form
- Health & Safety recommendations
- Health & Safety helpline
- Fire Log