Automotive Workshop Safety
Feb. 25, 2014
Too many people are injured while working in automotive workshops or carrying out off-site service calls.
Manual handling injuries are the most common type of injury occurring in automotive workshops. The injuries occur from handling heavy or awkward objects, heavy lifting, and prolonged or sustained work in awkward postures. This injury trend occurs across all types of vehicle repair, maintenance or installation work, and on all types of vehicles.
Given the nature of the work there is always the risk of severe injury or fatality. Some risks are obvious, such as vehicles falling from hoists or jacks, being hit by a passing vehicle while carrying out roadside work, or tyres exploding during inflation. Other risks are less obvious such as the long-term effects of breathing asbestos fibres or fumes from solvents and automotive paints. While there may be risks associated with this type of work, these risks can be avoided.
Employers have a duty to minimise the risk of injury at their workplace. This duty is set out in detail in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985. Under this Act an employer can be held responsible for the safety of the workshop (workplace), its equipment and its contents, the safety of the systems of work used by employees and the proper training and supervision of employees to keep them safe at work. Regulations made under the Act provide additional instruction on how particular hazards, such as asbestos, hazardous substances, manual handling and plant, are to be managed.
Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety at work and to avoid endangering the health and safety of any other person by anything they do, or fail to do, at the workplace.
Guidance material is available from WorkSafe that may help employers fulfil their obligations. Other sources of information include your industry association, suppliers’ and manufacturers’ advice, Australian Standards, training courses, advice from consultants, experienced practitioners, unions, insurers, rehabilitation providers, legal practitioners, researchers, inventors, auditors and others. Together these contribute to the ‘state of knowledge’ about hazards in automotive workshops and how to eliminate or control them.
After consulting widely with industry, inspecting many workshops and investigating many incidents, WorkSafe has developed this Automotive Workshop Safety Guide to help employers and their employees develop solutions to the more difficult hazards. For many hazards described in this guide, a key part of the solution is investment in mechanical aids that make the job easier and safer.
The information in this document may be suited to Victoria, but it still holds value in its contents for other states. This considered, it is still recommended for you to contact your state’s WorkSafe Victoria equivalent, listed below:
For the full 44 page Worksafe guide click the download pdf button below.