Safety in Vehicle Maintenance Shops
Supervisors should ensure that daily inspections are made on all shop equipment. The following precautions should also be observed:
- Motor vehicle maintenance activities, such as painting, welding and battery work should be carried out in separate parts of the shop.
- Adequate general illumination should be provided in all areas of shop and where necessary, additional lighting supplied.
- A fire prevention program should be implemented to ensure that care is taken in the storage and handling of flammable fuels and lubricants. The following precautions are essential:
- Flame-producing equipment should not be used in the shop except in areas such as the welding shop, where required safety controls exist.
- Smoking should be forbidden except in areas designated by the maintenance superintendent.
- Fire extinguishers should be located within 100' of the maintenance shop. They should be inspected monthly, tagged and their locations should be clearly marked and free of obstructions.
- Vehicles should never be fueled inside maintenance shops. The supervisor however, may make exceptions under controlled conditions.
- Shop ventilation should be adequate to prevent accumulation of gases and vapors. Special exhaust systems should be provided in battery rooms, painting booths and for confined welding jobs.
- Shop floors should be kept clean and free of oil, grease, gasoline, water and other hazardous or slippery materials. Drip pans under vehicles and mechanized equipment are essential. In addition :
- Special precautions should be made to prevent drainage of flammable liquids into floor drains or sanitary systems.
- Boxes of suitable absorbent materials should be provided in vehicle maintenance shops to be used on spills.
- Oily rags and contaminated absorbent materials should be disposed of on a daily basis in approved containers for laundering.
- Shop personnel should wear appropriate protective equipment when performing any hazardous maintenance operation. This equipment should be available in the shop for immediate use.
- Automatic shop machinery such as lathes, abrasive wheels and portable electric tools should be guarded and grounded according to requirements outlined by the manufacturer and this manual.
- Guard rails should be placed around grease or repair pits. All pits should be equipped with steps, handrails, and approved lighting. Additionally:
- Pits should be built with drains equipped with oil separators to prevent drainage into the sanitary sewers.
- Repair areas and grease pits should be cleaned regularly with soap and water or a caustic solution. Flammable solvents should not be used due to fire hazard.
- Each automotive lift should be marked with the name of the manufacturer, lift capacity and date of installation. These markings should be stamped or etched on a metal plate permanently attached to the lift in a position where the operator can see it.
- Vehicle lifts should be equipped with control devices of the "dead man" type which automatically return to neutral or off when released by the operator. Controls should be conveniently located near the lift in a position that provides an unobstructed view of the lift area.
- Chassis and axle supports should be designed to transfer the load to the lift rails without putting torsion stress in the rails. Make shift devices should not be used for chassis and axle supports.
- Tire Mounting:
When mounting tires shop personnel should use mechanical devices such as dollies to help them mount or remove large, heavy tires. The following precautions should also be taken:
- Personnel should use guard cages when inflating tires. When wheels with lock rings or split rims are repaired, several lengths of chain that are equipped with positive catches can also be used to pass through the wheel openings and around the tire rim before inflating.
- Personnel should use extreme caution when inflating low pressured tires on large trucks or heavy construction equipment.
- Contaminated Clothing:
Mechanics should keep their clothing free from grease and oil and observe the following:
- If the clothing is contaminated with gasoline, the mechanic should immediately shower and put on clean clothing.
- Clothing that is saturated with flammable substances should be stored in approved containers.
The rate load should be legibly and permanently marked in a prominent location on the jack by casting, stamping or other suitable means and operators should observe the following:
- Make sure that the jack used has a rating sufficient to lift and sustain the load.
- Inspect jacks frequently.
- After a vehicle has been raised by a jack, it should be securely blocked to prevent falling.
- All hand and portable power tools in the shop should be used and maintained according to the requirements prescribed in this manual.
- Tool kits should be inspected periodically and defective tools replaced immediately.
- Electrical Equipment Cables and Cords:
- The insulation of power cables and cords on electrical equipment should be resistant to damage from oil or grease.
- Power cables and cords on all electrically operated equipment should have a three-wire plug with a ground lug. This requirement does not apply to double insulated tools.
- Cables should be constructed to provide automatic grounding of equipment through integral conductors.
- Employees who are using portable electrical tools and lights should not string cables across shop floors.
- M. Fuel Tanks:
Gasoline tanks and other fuel containers should not be welded. If necessary all welding shall be performed in compliance with the safety requirements outlined in the welding section of this manual.
- N. Shop Entrances:
Shop entrances and exits should be clearly lighted and marked to prevent accidents. Appropriate traffic control signs should be posted at entrances and exits and the following should be observed:
- Vehicles entering or leaving shops should signal with their horns to warn shop personnel and other vehicular traffic.
- A maximum speed limit of five miles per hour should be enforced in and around shops.
- Dangers of Compressed Air:
Compressed air should not be used to clean workbenches, vehicle chassis and other parts. This practice is extremely dangerous because metal parts, dirt and debris can cause eye injury or be forced through clothing into the flesh. The following guidelines should also be observed:
- Employees should never engage in horseplay with compressed air.
- Compressed air should always be used according to safety requirements outlined in this manual.
- Pressure gages should be equipped with safety glass lens and blowout plugs.
- Hoses should be adequately secured at all times.
- Compressed air may be used as a cleaning acid on non-moving machinery provided that air output at the nozzle does not exceed 15 psi. When cleaning moving machinery air output should not exceed 5 psi.
- Eye protection should be used at all times when cleaning equipment with compressed air.