Working in an auto body shop means being around all kinds of hazards, so dressing properly and knowing how to safely tend to and complete your tasks is essential.
As an auto mechanic, you work with power tools, heavy machinery, chemicals and other dangerous items and materials on a daily basis. Given the high risk, many auto body shop owners urge their employees to wear the proper safety gear.
Recognize the many hazards
Because you're constantly surrounded by various hazards, you may not realize just how many there are. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has a long list of dangers that are found in auto body shops, including and not limited to hazardous materials, toxic substances, electrical components and flammable liquids.
The OSHA encourages all members of auto body shop staff to use the appropriate safety gear when working on different projects. Everyday responsibilities that are dangerous include:
- Spray painting: It's no secret that inhaling spray paint is bad for your health. When tending to this task, you have to wear a heavy-duty respirator – not a simple face mask or even a ventilated face mask. Check that the respirator is designed to filter out fumes. Respirators come with varying degrees of ventilation, so find the right one before picking up the paint gun. Consider wearing coveralls to keep your clothes from getting stained.
- Polishing metal: Taking a sander to metal is one of the most ear-piercing tasks that you'll undertake. Earplugs will help lower the noise level, while a full mask will keep the sparks from hitting you in the face. Long sleeves will prevent the hot debris from touching your skin and a good pair of work boots will protect your feet. Avoid boots with highly flammable material, such as canvas, and opt instead for leather models. Additionally, find ones with high tops that you can pull your pant leg over, ensuring that no hazardous materials will get in.
- Welding: Another task that results in high-flying sparks is welding. There are specific products that protect welders, including helmets, gloves and aprons. Wear safety glasses beneath the welding helmet to better protect your eyes in the event that a spark manages to get inside it.
- Working with machinery: Whether you're cutting metal or piercing it, you'll need a machine that's strong enough to go through the material. Form-fitting safety gloves ensure that your hands stay safe while giving you a good grip on the plate. This and many other items in the shop are especially heavy, and you never know when something will drop on your foot. Steel-toed boots will keep the most vulnerable parts of your foot safe.
- Walking: Spills can happen anywhere at any time, and depending on the liquid, it may not be very easy to spot a puddle. The slipperiness of the fluid can range. Water can be risky, but oil can be downright hazardous. Therefore, an action as simple and basic as walking across the shop can be dangerous. Investing in high-quality slip-resistant boot or shoes will decrease your risk of slips.
Additionally, you have to know how to conduct yourself around the shop by being attentive to whatever projects you're undertaking for your own personal safety, but also being aware of your surroundings at all times. If you have any concerns, never hesitate to speak to your manager. With the right gear, an attentive demeanor and a knack for auto body work, you can enjoy your job and stay safe!
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