Having an auto body shop can be hectic and busy with constant activity, but there still has to be the time in the schedule for safety. Though your employees might have lots of experience and they might be very careful, there are a lot of hazards at an auto body or repair shop. In an instant, an employee could have an accident that leaves them injured. Here are ten ways to keep your employees safe and manage your workers’ comp risk at your auto shop.
10 ways to lower workers’ comp risk at your auto shop.
1. Be aware of hazards around your shop.
The first step is to identify potential safety hazards at your shop. What could go wrong? What poses a risk to your employees? Once you know what risks you’re up against, you can start working on a plan to manage and reduce those risks. And with that plan, you can help keep your employees safe.
Pro tip: Involve your employees in this process. Who knows the dangers of their jobs better than the people who do them every day? Ask them what their greatest safety concerns are and see if they have suggestions for lowering their risks.
2. Encourage employees to speak up about safety concerns.
It’s important that your employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns about safety. They’re the ones in the auto body shop, working with the cars and juggling everything, after all. Make sure that they know you welcome their suggestions for improving safety and mitigating risks. They shouldn’t feel like they could get in trouble for pointing out a problem, and they shouldn’t worry that their concerns won’t be taken seriously.
3. Train your employees.
Proper training is essential when it comes to preventing workplace accidents at your shop. Your employees have to know what to look out for, how to do their job safely, and how to use the equipment they need for their job. Make sure you spend plenty of time on training and make sure your employees know they can ask questions and come to you if something’s wrong. Don’t rush through training and then throw your employee to the wolves.
4. Maintain all vehicle hoists and jacks.
You also have to make sure that your vehicle hoists and jacks are properly maintained so that they don’t fail at an inopportune moment – namely when they could cause a car to crash onto an employee. It’s important that you also have a proper procedure for your vehicle hoists so that no one’s crawling around under a car that isn’t supported properly. It’s something that you don’t even want to think about, but cars can fall. Do everything you can to prevent that.
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5. Don’t be lazy with housekeeping.
Keep the floor of your shop clear of anything that could cause someone to trip and fall on their face. Make sure your employees know to keep the shop tidy and clean up any spills ASAP so no one slips. Falling or tripping is a common occurrence, and it could lead to a serious claim if someone takes a spill and breaks a bone or hits their head.
6. Teach proper lifting.
It might seem silly to think about the proper way to lift a box, but if someone doesn’t lift a heavy load with their legs they could seriously hurt their back. Make sure that everyone knows to lift by squatting and using their legs, not their backs. Leg muscles are strong. They can take the strain of lifting.
7. Provide proper safety equipment and PPE.
Your employees also need proper safety equipment and personal protective equipment. (For example, eye protection and ear protection.) As an employer, you need to provide the appropriate PPE for your employees. The next thing is to make sure that your employees actually use it.
8. Take care with fumes from paint.
If your employees work with paint at the auto shop, make sure they have the right breathing equipment to protect from the fumes. Chemicals aren’t great for the lungs.
9. Investigate accidents and near-misses.
Another part of reducing risk at your auto shop is investigating near-misses or accidents that happen. By conducting a thorough investigation, you can get to the bottom of what happened – and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
10. Get workers’ comp insurance.
It’s also very important to get workers’ comp insurance for your auto shop. Workers’ comp helps cover your employee’s medical bills and a portion of their lost wages if they have an on-the-job accident and they’re unable to work. You can protect your employees and look after them by getting workers’ comp insurance.
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