Shop Safety Awareness

There are many potential hazards within a maintenance operation that can cause injury, and there are real, and costly, consequences for working unsafely. A safe work environment is a combination of both the work area and the workers themselves. Here...


Technicians are better able to see what they are doing and don’t have to worry about a lot of build-up of dirt and grime. The company doesn’t want its technicians, slipping or falling while working on vehicles.

Additionally, drivers are required to keep their cabs clean as well. Debris can be a real safety hazard – for both the driver and technician.

 

Remy International, Pendleton, IN

Submitted by Bob Jeffries, manager of fleet operations and service

The importance of battery safety and working around rotating machinery cannot be overemphasized.

Jump starting is not a spectator sport. No one, including the driver, needs to be looking over a technician’s shoulder as he performs the repair. Anyone not involved in the jump start, should maintain a distance of 15 to 20 feet away.

Furthermore, technicians need to be reminded to be extra cautious when working on batteries when away from an eyewash station, should the unfortunate event of a battery explosion occur and someone comes in contact with battery acid.

In these cases it is important to think and act quickly. Anything at hand that is consumable - soda, a bottle of water or even a half-filled cup of coffee that has cooled down - can be used to flush the acid as soon as possible to minimize the chemical burn.

 

Logistic Leasing, Charlotte, NC

Submitted by Jim Smith, company president, and Ralph C. Clemons, vice president of safety

The company works very hard to keep its shops safe. Monthly shop safety meetings are conducted and larger quarterly safety meetings are held to cover specific safety topics.

All employees go through safety training at Logistic Leasing’s Excellence Training Center (ETC). This takes place prior to or just after a technician is hired. The training covers a range of different safety subjects, including: ladder safety, working at elevations, fall protection, guarded equipment, PPE, road call procedures, fire extinguisher training, hazardous communication and safe machine operation.

Shop safety inspections are done on a regular basis, with accountability on all levels. More comprehensive safety audits are conducted at a minimum of twice annually, focusing on, among other things: facility and shop equipment, fire extinguishers, shop cleanliness and organization, and vehicle ingress/egress procedures.

 

Knife River Materials, Bemidji, MN  

Submitted by Kurt Lindquist, equipment shop supervisor

The company has gone to great lengths to get all employees – about 230 – trained and involved in the safety program, and the benefits are “outstanding.” Recordable injuries and lost time injuries have diminished considerably.

One of the key reasons for safety in the shop is the job hazard analysis (JHA). With all the different types of equipment and repairs that go through the shop, technicians do a JHA before they start any repair, even with something as seemingly routine as an oil change. The objective is to have the technicians discuss with each other the tasks of each job to identify any hazards and prevent them from occurring.

Knife River Materials wants technicians to be aware of do’s and don’ts of each job, and know what proper PPE should be used and when. Plus, the JHAs make for good safety topics at its safety meetings.

 

Fleet Services/Parking Enterprise Division, Sacramento, CA

Submitted by James Collins, division chief

First and foremost, safety in the shop and the field is a culture. Safety comes from the top down and it is each employee caring as much about their own safety as their coworker’s safety.

            Peer pressure is a powerful force in the shop. When workers know they will be criticized for working unsafely, they first avoid unsafe acts to avoid criticism. But given some thought, most will realize they are being criticized because someone else really cares about them.

Once a person realizes others are not finding fault, but rather are concerned for their safety, a culture of responsibility toward safety develops. They understand that safety more than just an individual’s concern.

Shop supervisors work to keep safety out in front of their workers by holding regular, interesting safety meetings and encouraging mechanic participation, among other things.

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