Working as an auto mechanic can be a rewarding career–but it can also be a hazardous one. Workers in the automotive industry are routinely exposed to caustic chemicals, potentially dangerous shop equipment, loud noises and more. It is essential for those who work in the automotive repair industry to keep themselves–and their customers–safe from harm.

Do Not Allow Customers on the Shop Floor

Proper safety starts with who is allowed on the shop floor. Even though a well-run shop can appear perfectly safe, there are still plenty of hidden hazards that make the shop floor a bad place for visitors.

It is natural for car owners to want to see what is being done to their automobiles, but it is important for shop owners to institute a hard and fast rule forbidding anyone but workers from entering the shop floor. Many mechanics provide customers with a waiting room that allows them to see the shop floor without putting themselves at risk, and this can be a good compromise.

Keep Everything in its Place

Organization is a must when it comes to worker safety. If tools and car parts are strewn around the shop floor, that is an accident waiting to happen. When those tools and parts are put away, the hazard is removed. A neat shop will also be easier to work in and more pleasing to the customers on the other side of the glass.

It is important for any auto mechanic or shop owner to institute some kind of organizational system to keep all tools and parts where they belong. It could be as simple as a pegboard with clearly marked spots for every tool. Or it could be as elaborate as a rolling tray that allows shop tools to be moved from place to place. But no matter what kind of system is used to keep the shop organized, it is important that all workers be trained on how to use it.

Keep Copies of the Safety Instructions with Every Piece of Equipment

One of the most significant hazards in an auto shop are the large and potentially dangerous pieces of equipment, from car lifts and jacks to winches and engine pullers.

Chances are that each piece of equipment came with its own set of operating instructions and safety precautions, but those documents might have gotten separated from the equipment over the years. It is important for the shop owner to keep them in an easily accessible spot. It is also important to keep material safety data sheets (MSDS) on file for every type of chemical used on the shop floor. This will make it easier to administer first aid and work with emergency responders in the event of an accident or spill.