It takes more than skill and experience to be a great auto mechanic. Working with hazardous chemicals, dangerous tools, and heavy machinery day in and day out means you need a great deal of common sense, as well as a healthy respect for safety rules.
Whether you’re a new mechanic just learning the ropes or you have a few years under your belt, it never hurts to revisit auto mechanic safety rules. To keep you and your fellow mechanics protected and productive, here are some safety precautions that should always be adhered to:
Wear the Right Cold Weather Gear
Anyone who has worked in an open-garage-style shop knows that it gets awfully cold during the winter. The last thing you want is to be operating on a vehicle with numb fingers. The best cold weather gear for automotive workers is designed to keep them warm and safe while still allowing for freedom of movement. This may include insulated coveralls that repel water and block wind, lightweight yet durable shoes, and gloves that provide excellent dexterity and grip.
While you may think that you can brave the cold, rest assured that this is putting both you and your fellow mechanics at risk. Clumsy fingers or a lack of focus as a result of the cold can spell disaster when working with heavy machinery.
Use Insulated Tools for Electrical Work
Insulated tools are essential for working on electrical components. These tools help prevent electrical shock in case the mechanic accidentally makes contact with an energized source. With electric and hybrid vehicles expected to reach 125 million by 2030, insulated tools will become more important than ever. Electric vehicles feature high-voltage systems and many mechanics aren’t trained or qualified to work on them. Insulated tools are no longer as expensive as they once were, and they could potentially save your life.
Take Off Jewelry and Tie Back Hair Before Work
There have been far too many horror stories involving wedding rings and loose hair in the auto mechanic world. Reading just one gruesome story is enough for most mechanics to become serious about securing their hair and leaving jewelry at home. Although you might think that gloves will effectively cover your wedding ring and keep you safe, it’s recommended that you remove it nonetheless. Rings can catch on parts when wearing lightweight gloves and cause dangerous situations. The same goes for any necklaces, chains, and bracelets you normally wear. If you must wear a wedding ring, consider wearing a silicone ring that’s engineered for safety.
Use Proper Lifts
If there is any safety precaution that should be adhered to, it’s whenever you’re working directly under a massive piece of machinery. Knowing how to properly lift a vehicle is critical to your safety, as well as those around you. To prevent accidents and injuries, never raise a vehicle with people in the car. If you’re using a jack, always put the car in park and lock the wheels.
When working beneath the vehicle, use jack stands to help support the vehicle. Before lowering the lift, make sure that everything is cleared out from under the vehicle. This includes tool trays, stands, and tools. Even experienced mechanics can make a small error that can prove deadly if they aren’t taking safety precautions.
Maintain a Tidy Work Environment
Keeping your auto shop clean and tidy is key to worker safety. Automotive spills, auto parts, and tools lying around are hazardous to everyone in the vicinity. In addition, storing tools away properly is important to extend their lifespan. Every mechanic should know how to clean up oil, antifreeze, and solvent. They should also know how to dispose of any hazardous waste.
Wear Protective Eyewear
Flying shards and irritating and hazardous chemicals are all common hazards in an autobody shop. In fact, eye injuries are one of the most common injuries for mechanics and cost more than $300 million per year in lost productivity, medical expenses, and worker compensation. Whether you’re the one using power tools in the shop or you’re assisting someone in a task, protective eyewear is a must.
A pair of goggles or safety eyewear with side protection is key to keeping your eyes safe from chemical, mechanical, or environmental irritants. If you normally wear prescription glasses, be sure to get prescription goggles as well. You’ll also want to pay attention to certain features of your protective eyewear. Anti-fog, anti-scratch coatings are a nice feature to have in a pair of protective goggles.
Always Be Aware to Remain Safe at the Shop
Remember, these are not the only safety precautions that you should take as an auto mechanic. Each auto environment is unique and may have additional safety requirements that you should adhere to. If you’re a new mechanic, a few general safety precautions go a long way in keeping you safe on the job. Additionally, it will look good to your superiors when they see you paying attention to details and being aware of potentially dangerous situations.
Author Bio: Natalie Bucsko serves as the Marketing Communications Specialist for RefrigiWear. From the Dahlonega, GA headquarters, Natalie oversees all content, including the website, knowledge center, blog, catalog, email, and social media. Before joining RefrigiWear, Natalie worked as a Marketing Coordinator for several years at companies ranging from startups to insurance. She enjoys cooking and baking, sports, reading and spending time outdoors – especially when it is cold!