Garages - Work Practices

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What are some good work practices to follow?

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  • Make sure you have been trained to use and operate all tools, equipment, and machinery before use.
  • Read, understand, and follow the instructions and recommendations described in the operating and maintenance manuals for the tools and equipment you use.
  • Visually inspect tools, equipment and machinery for any defects or damage that may affect its safe use.
  • Report any safety hazards and remove any defective tools or equipment from service.
  • Make sure guards and barriers are in place. Work with a “safety watcher” whenever a guard must be removed.
  • Check labels and safety data sheets (SDSs) before working with hazardous products and other chemicals and materials for safe handling and storage of information.
  • Stop the engine and disengage the power before servicing.
  • Know how to work safely around high voltages that may be present in hybrid or electric vehicles. Disconnect components that may keep a dangerous voltage when the vehicle is turned off. 
  • Make sure the vehicle brakes are applied and the wheels are chocked. 
  • Work as a team. Do not start an engine, engage power, raise or lower an implement or hoist without warning other people in the area.
  • Lock out equipment by removing the ignition key and disconnecting the battery cables.
  • Always disable the electrical system by disconnecting a battery cable or removing fuses for a circuit when working on the electrical system (e.g., starter motor, radio, wiring, ignition, etc.).
  • Disable the electrical system when working on or near the safety airbags.
  • Attach a "Do Not Operate" tag to the vehicle's control panel with the reason stated (such as 'no brakes').
  • Use jacks and hoists to move and handle heavy components.
  • Use solvents with a flashpoint above 60°C where possible to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Clean up spilled oil, grease, fuel and other slipping and fire hazards immediately.
  • Inspect compressed air hoses regularly and immediately replace any which are cracked, worn or frayed.
  • Do not direct compressed air towards yourself or another person.  Cleaning with compressed air may not be allowed in your jurisdiction, or it may be allowed but only in specific situations. 
  • Ensure that air pressure reducers, gauges, and moisture or dirt traps are cleaned and functioning.
  • Keep the work area clean and organized. Use hooks, racks, shelving and cabinets to prevent tools and equipment from accumulating on the floor to prevent trips and falls.
  • Dispose of or recycle waste materials according to government regulations.
  • Above and underground tanks, pump pits, and similar areas are considered confined spaces and can be dangerous. Only specifically trained individuals are allowed entry. Contact your local jurisdiction for more information.
  • Do not use gasoline for cleaning. Use cleaning solvents in approved containers.
  • Do not wear rings, watches, ties, jewelry, or torn or loose clothing when working near moving parts or machinery. Button up the shirt front and sleeves. Tie back long hair.
  • Do not run engines indoors unless ventilation systems are attached, and the exhaust is vented outside.
  • Change oily clothing and launder regularly to prevent skin irritation and dermatitis.
  • Use safe lifting techniques when moving heavy parts.
  • Do not allow customers, family, or untrained people in the work area.
  • Do not allow smoking when working near flammable products.

What are some general precautions to know when using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

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  • Wear approved safety glasses,  goggles, a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles), or other safety headwear as necessary when doing work such as grinding, hammering, cutting, welding, and working with batteries. Refer to the OSH Answers section Personal Protective Equipment for more information.
  • Wear approved respiratory protection when welding, sanding, grinding, and spray painting.
  • Wear approved footwear with oil-resistant, non-slip soles.
  • Use approved protective headwear when working in pits, under hoisting equipment, or where there is a danger of materials falling from above.
  • Where hearing protection when noise levels are approaching 85 dB.
  • Protect yourself from sharp edges and protruding parts. Wear gloves and cover sharp objects with tape, rags or wooden guards.
  • Care for all PPE according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Store respiratory protection in a clean, dry area when not in use. Hang fall protection system belts, lanyards, and harnesses up after each use. Regularly launder coveralls.
  • Inspect and replace any PPE that is badly damaged or defective.
  • Change oily clothing and launder regularly to prevent skin irritation and dermatitis.
  • Check safety data sheets (SDSs) for recommendations regarding PPE (gloves, respirators, etc.) when working with chemicals and materials.
  • Special ventilation systems, respirators or separate supplied air (breathing air) may be required if welding or when working with certain chemicals or paints (e.g., isocyanates).

What are some good practices to know about spills?

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  • Reduce spills by using drip pans.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the type of absorbent material to use if the product is spilt.
  • When cleaning, drain excess fluid into appropriate waste containers. Treat the absorbent and liquid mixture in the same way you would safely handle the liquid.
  • Place oily rags in a covered metal container.
  • Dispose of absorbent according to local environmental requirements.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2023-10-31