As an auto body shop employee, you already know what kinds of risks are associated with your job. Auto body shops present a variety of hazards, including the use of dangerous chemicals, exposure to paint fumes, exposure to sanding dust, metal fumes from welding and cutting, hearing damage from excessive noise, the potential for oil or grease spills leading to slips and falls, flying debris, electrical exposures and the general peril of working with large, heavy machinery.
Though you are well aware of these dangers, customers visiting your garage or shop probably do not fully understand the potential risks. Because customers are not equipped with training or proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and you may be liable for any injuries incurred in the shop, it is important to take proper measures to keep them safe.
Take the Safe Route
Your best bet for keeping customers free from injury is to keep them in the designated waiting areas and away from the garage altogether. It is recommended that you make sure signs indicate employee-only zones to warn customers of potential hazards in entering the shop floor.
A good rule of thumb is to take customers into the garage only when it is absolutely vital to completing the job. Remember that if your company is indeed liable for customers’ injuries while inside the garage, you might be better off discussing repairs away from potential auto shop hazards.
Factors to Consider
If you decide that taking a customer back into the shop and away from the designated waiting areas is the only feasible option, here are some things to consider:
- Be sure the shop is clean and orderly. Clean up all oil, grease and water spills promptly, and remove all tools or other objects left in walking paths. Make sure there are no exposed sharp edges around the shop where visiting customers could cut themselves.
- Check frame straightening machines and hydraulic pressure hoses regularly for signs of excessive wear to prevent the possibility of chain snapping.
- Make sure the areas of the shop where the customer visits are properly ventilated and free of any harmful fumes.
- Ask that the customer keep any food or drinks in the designated waiting area, as any dust from the shop could potentially contaminate these items.