While we all have a general idea about what the word “safety” means, ultimately different industries will have different specific definitions of this particular word. For example, “safety” for a desk worker won’t mean the same as safety for an airline pilot. Another example of an industry with a specific definition safety is the automotive industry, which includes dealerships, service centers, and individual auto shops – and this is the industry we want to shine a spotlight on today.
What does the term “safety” mean and encompass for those involved in the automotive industry?
The automotive industry defines safety as the following: when “users, operators or manufacturers do not face any risk or danger coming from the motor vehicle or its spare parts.” However, while taking certain safety steps and using the proper safety equipment is certainly important for the people working with cars on a regular basis, motor vehicles and their spare parts aren’t the only sources for safety concerns in this industry. Automobiles require a number of liquids – fuels, oils and more – to work and function properly. This means that when an automobile experiences problems, fuel spills, oil leaks and other slippery messes are a very real potential for two major types of hazards: workplace and environmental.
What sorts of worker and environmental safety challenges does this industry face?
In addition to the risks associated with working around heavy pieces of machinery, automotive industry workers run the risk of dealing with loose or flying debris and various liquid spills that range in potential toxicity. Fuel spills, oil leaks, spent solvents and other liquid messes often become problematic because they pose a two sided risk. In addition to potentially harming a company’s employees, these spills can lead to environmental damage and EPA fines and supervision if they’re not addressed properly.
What can employees in the industry do to address these challenges?
Compliance with local and federal regulations combined with good housekeeping skills are the most important things any company can do to prevent and prepare for workplace accidents. To help make this happen, all automotive companies should invest in a strong safety culture that aims to prevent accidents before they happen. They should also be prepared for any accidents that could potentially happen, including fires, fuel spills, and so forth. This means that these groups need to stock up on the proper tools for the accidents they may face, including fire extinguishers, spill kits, a proper absorbent product, and more.
Ultimately, the best way to run a safe business in the automotive industry is to follow safety news, laws and regulations as directed by the EPA and other national safety organizations. Companies that want to know if their workspace is currently up to code should reach out to safety experts who can either provide a checklist of items to review, or who can physically come and inspect a dealership or garage’s property and provide a list of potential improvements. Legal assistance and the many free resources available through OSHA and similar organizations are also good places to go when attempting to brush up on safety tips.
Do you have questions or concerns about your dealership or garage’s safety tools? Let us know – we can help to point you in the right direction!