Garages - Working Under Vehicles

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What is important to know when working in a garage servicing pit?

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  • Check the pit for the presence of flammable or other hazardous vapours.
  • Remove all flammable materials from the pit.
  • Ensure that the ventilation system is working efficiently and the air quality in the pit is safe.
  • Place the vehicle in a secure position so there is room to get out of the pit in an emergency.  Make sure there are safe, unobstructed ways to enter and exit the pit.
  • Set chocks or other devices to prevent the vehicle from unintentional movement.
  • Use only explosion-proof lighting. Make sure that light bulbs are not broken or missing.
  • Use pneumatic (air-powered) or explosion-protected tools as a safety precaution even though the pit has been checked for flammable vapours.
  • Do not drain a fuel tank over or near a pit. Vapours from gasoline and paint solvents are heavier than air.
  • Cover the pit when not in use with solid, well-fitting boards or install guardrails on all sides of the pit. Replace any damaged guardrails.
  • Do not jump across pits.
  • Wear appropriate eye and head protection.

What are some safety tips to know when using a jack?

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  • Visually inspect the jack before each use.
  • Use only jacks that are maintained in good operating condition.
  • Place the jack securely on a dry, level, clean surface at right angles to the load.
  • Position the jack at the jack point recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Shift the vehicle with an automatic transmission to a park or low gear if it has a standard transmission, and apply the parking brake.
  • Use chocks in front and back of the wheel that are on the diagonal from the wheel that will be raised (e.g., if jacking up the right, front wheel, use the chocks on the left, rear wheel).
  • Do not overload a jack beyond its weight capacity. All lifts must be vertical.
  • Do not position yourself where you could be pinned between the operating handle and the wall if the vehicle or jack moves unintentionally.
  • If working alone, always arrange to have someone check on you at pre-arranged, regular intervals.
  • Place safety stands under the vehicle to support the vehicle if an employee must work under the vehicle.
  • Make sure that the safety stands are in good condition and positioned properly and that the correct support pins are used in adjustable axle stands.
  • Do not get under a vehicle that is supported by a jack only - always use suitable safety stands.
  • Make sure jacks are inspected regularly by a qualified person according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Make sure any defects are reported, and the jack is taken out of service until a qualified person determines it is safe for use again.

Always refer to the manufacturer's manual for specific instructions on how to use the jack and its safety features.

What are some tips for using a creeper?

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  • Make sure the appropriate stands are in position in case of hoist failure or jack movement.
  • Wear appropriate eye and head protection.
  • Keep feet clear of other traffic.
  • Use tool trays on the sides of the cart to transport hand tools rather than on your chest.
  • Secure creepers in a wall rack when not in use.
  • Do not leave creepers leaning against the wall where they could be a tripping or "skateboard" hazard.

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2024-04-23