Resources - Fleet Safety

Maintenance Shop Safety

Inadequate mechanic training, poor housekeeping, negligence and inadequate shop design are the primary causes of a poor safety record in the shop.

Shop Safety Committees

One of the most effective techniques to improve shop safety is to set up a Shop Safety Committee to emphasize the importance of shop safety, exchange effective safety improvement ideas and to solve problems. Shop safety meetings are generally held monthly and safety inspections of the shop should be scheduled on a regular basis in order to catch problems before they become bad habits and accidents.

Shop safety inspections should inspect the worker, the workplace and the interaction between the worker and the workplace to identify unsafe work practices as well as unsafe work areas:

  • Check the quality of the housekeeping in the shop
  • If the housekeeping quality is poor, check workload to make sure employees have the time necessary to perform this job properly
  • Provide employees with the right tools to perform the job properly
  • Keep employee workloads at reasonable levels and rotate jobs between mechanics at the same grade level
  • Tools should be properly maintained and repaired or disposed of when necessary
  • The right tool for the job should be available as improvising with tools often leads to injury
  • Keep tools clean; keep edged tools sharp; check wiring on electrical tools daily for cracked tool housings and grounding plugs that have the grounding blade removed; do not wrap cracked housings with electrical tape
  • Inspect extension cords and work lights regularly; use only hazardous service work-light bulbs and make sure all extension cords are grounded
  • Operation of electrical tools near standing water is never to be allowed
  • Inspect air tools, hoses and couplings daily
  • Inspect air compressor drive belts regularly
  • Safety gear must be provided for employees and they must use it when required.

Note the employee, the situation and the action taken. Monitor corrective actions and discuss the status of the latest safety inspection at each Shop Safety Committee meeting.

Employees' Right to Know About Hazardous Materials

Fleet Managers must know the "right-to-know" regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Both health hazards (chemicals that may cause acute or chronic ill-health in exposed employees) and physical hazards (chemicals that are combustible liquids, compressed gases, oxidizers, pyrophorics, flammables, unstable materials or water-reactive materials) are two classes of hazardous materials about which shop personnel have a right to know.

Inform all employees who handle hazardous materials about the potential risks involved with the substances.

Employees should know about the operations in their work area where hazardous materials are used or stored, the location of the lists of hazardous chemicals and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and safe use and storage of hazardous materials. A hazard communication package should be prepared, should include an explanation of the organization's labeling system and the MSDSs supplied by the manufacturers and should be available to all employees.

Safety information should be available in dressing rooms, near the time-clock, in the rest area and in the work area.

Fleet Managers should provide training to shop personnel in the methods and observations that can be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work area and how to take measures to protect themselves from hazardous substances through the use of protective gear, safe work practices and emergency procedures.

The Fleet Manager's Responsibility

Fleet managers should enforce the use of protective gear, assure adequate ventilation and provide washing facilities.

Fleet managers should also forbid the storage of hazardous substances in the work area, keep flammables separate from other substances in a storage area conforming to fire code, never re-use containers for the storage of other substances, make sure labels are not removed from containers, provide airtight containers to store oily rags and store small quantities of gasoline only in approved containers.

Source: Adapted from the Federal Fleet Management Desk Reference

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Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).