The World’s Leading Information Resource For Maintenance & Engineering Professionals.

Social Media

Staying safe in the vehicle repair industry: 3 health and safety tips

feb march 19 20Staying safe in the vehicle repair industry: 3 health and safety tips

The motor vehicle repair (MVR) industry can certainly come with its dangers, with reports from the HSE showing that falling from a height and being struck by vehicles, materials, and tools are some of the main hazards engineers come across in this type of work. (Read More) To help you learn how to protect yourself, we spoke to Mark Barclay from GSF Car Parts. Here, he discusses his top health and safety tips for working in MVR.   

It’s no secret that the MVR industry can be a complex and sometimes dangerous one to work in, with jobs like body repairs, replacement services, and refinishing presenting hazards on a day-to-day basis for engineers.

With so much to focus on, it can be difficult to know what precautions you should be taking, so I'm going to share some of the key measures that will help protect you while working.

Use PPE during body work
The body fillers used in MVR are mainly comprised of a thermosetting unsaturated polyester mixed with a solvent and reactive hardener. These components — and particularly the hardeners — have powerful odours and can cause irritation to the nose, throat, lungs, and skin. Protect yourself with adequate exhaust ventilation, as well as suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respiratory masks and resistant nitrile gloves.

The paints and solvents used in bodywork usually contain flammable vapours, which can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities. Again, ventilation is key here, as is keeping lids on cans as much as possible and having suitable absorbent material on hand to clear up any spillages quickly and effectively.

Minimise the risks of slips, trips, and falls
As an engineer in the MVR sector, you’re bound to be working around plenty of oil and grease that can create slippery surfaces. To ensure this is dealt with properly, it’s crucial that you clear any spillages up as soon as possible. I would advise leaving these liquids for about three minutes and then scrubbing them with a stiff-bristled brush before placing newspaper on top to soak up any excess oil. Once dry, you can then wash the liquid away with a solution of warm water and bleach (if suitable for the flooring you’re working on). You should also look at investing in anti-slip footwear with practical rubber soles.

Additionally, any trailing wires should be moved out of the way as soon as you’re done with them.

Take care during servicing and maintenance
Vehicles rolling or falling off inadequately positioned and secured jacks are one of the main causes of fatalities in MVR, so it’s crucial you are taking the required measures. This includes chocking up the wheels once the vehicle has been hacked and using jack stands when you work to add an extra layer of protection in case the vehicle does fall. Regularly tightening the axle stand will also help to reduce chance of injury.

When checking that emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons fall within the legal limit, it’ll be important to control the amount of harmful chemicals you’re breathing in. Again, a respiratory mask will be necessary here, as will sufficient ventilation. You will also deal with fuel systems to check there's no leaks and that the fuel cap fastens securely, so it’ll be crucial to equip yourself with PPE like overalls and gloves to shield your skin from irritating and flammable substances.

With the MVR industry so fast-paced and challenging to work in, it can be easy to get caught up in your work and forget basic health and safety procedures. But, with my top three tips, you should be able to protect yourself from some of the most common hazards.

This article is written as an introductory guide to health and safety in MVR. For full details, please visit the HSE MVR page.