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As an entrepreneur, you seemingly have an endless list of responsibilities, from legal obligations to your duties to employees and clients. But if you’re running a business in the automotive industry, safety may be the most important responsibility you have. The automotive sector can be quite a high-risk and dangerous one, with thousands of injuries occurring in this industry each year. To protect your employees and minimize potential liability, it’s vital to focus on workplace safety and make your work environment as secure as possible. Here are some practices you should implement to achieve just that:
One of the most important things to know when working in the automotive industry is the most common injuries and hazards. Recognizing them can help employees avoid immediate dangers and allow them to remove potential threats to make the work environment safer for everyone involved. For people working with vehicles, the largest risk factors for sustaining injuries include body stress and improper ergonomics; slips, trips, and falls; and being hit by items of plant or moving vehicles, such as forklift incidents.
Like most other industries, maintaining safety in the automotive sector is best achieved through proper equipment. This mostly means legally mandated personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets, goggles, ear protection, respiratory protection, and other items to protect the body from injuries. However, protective clothing could also be of great help. Items such as work boots, strong gloves, and tight-fitting overalls can help to shield workers from immediate dangers in the workplace, like falling objects, sharp materials, and machinery that tends to snag loose clothing. Consider which pieces of equipment suit your work environment the most.
In many European countries, for instance, visibility is an incredibly important aspect of the automotive industry that is carefully regulated by law as well. Here, all employees are required to wear high-vis vests during working hours, while reflective triangles and roadway warning lights always have to be used if any work is performed on the road. You should consider implementing the same practices. In a disruptive environment where noise is often high due to machinery and the line of sight can be obstructed by materials, staying as visible as possible is vital for avoiding injuries and literally saving lives.
Across Australia, on the other hand, vehicle maintenance is prioritized and also mandated by law. Local automotive companies often decide to perform an e-safety check in Sydney to ensure their vehicles are safe and ready for the road. During these inspections, high-performing diagnostic tools are used to assess everything from body rust and damage to tires, brakes, and suspension systems. A detailed check like this can help to ensure vehicles are in optimal working condition, thus preventing unwanted breakdowns, repairs, and replacements. Not only does this aid in supporting daily processes, but it can also be a great tactic for reducing expenses.
Along with servicing vehicles, maintaining tools and machinery properly is another crucial factor in the automotive industry. Depending on the equipment in question, servicing and maintenance guidelines set by manufacturers should always be followed to prevent breakdowns and ensure a safe work environment. However, oil leaks tend to present a unique issue. While regular maintenance can help minimize it, it’s also important to know what to do when oil leaks occur, as they could easily cause the floors to become particularly slippery and lead to accidents such as slips and falls. Common suggestions include placing metal bunding around leaky machines and arranging a servicing program for faulty products.
Apart from larger hazards such as oil spills and faulty machinery, each workplace will also come with smaller dangers. They are often overlooked due to their seemingly innocuous nature, but they could also cause harm and serious injuries if they’re not handled properly. These aspects include loose wires and boxes or tools left in inappropriate places that could lead to trips and falls, along with chemical exposure and electrical hazards. New tools and machinery can also be dangerous if proper training hasn’t been conducted, and even factors such as oily rags left in pockets can end up harming the skin. Make education a priority to reduce these incidents.
During safety training, employees should learn how to perform quick safety scans. These scans include checking the body for any injuries or contact with hazardous material and the environment before conducting any work. The workplace can be inspected by scanning machinery and equipment, managing traffic, checking for hazardous chemicals and materials, looking for potential trip and fall dangers, performing well-being assessments, etc. Create a detailed checklist to go through daily to prevent injuries and incidents.
As a business leader, you must maintain workplace safety at a high level. Use the advice mentioned above and develop an elaborate safety program to make your automotive company safer for everyone involved.
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Nordic Founder Media OÜ, Estonia
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