Dawkins & Gowens Law Firm

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Prioritizing workplace safety as an auto mechanic

Auto mechanics in Oklahoma may not always be aware of the severity of the risks they face whenever they move about their workshops. There is a score of safety hazards, and employees who do not receive the necessary safety training may put their lives on the line. There are state and federal safety standards with which to comply, and it is the responsibility of workshop owners to protect the health and safety of all employees.

Your employer must establish a program to prevent workplace accidents in the automotive workshop with frequent site inspections to identify safety hazards for immediate repair, combined with employee training. Failure of your employer to do this can adversely affect the bottom line and it can be detrimental to your financial stability if you suffer an on-the-job injury and have to cope with medical bills and lost income.

What are the primary safety hazards?

Proper safety training will prepare you for avoiding slip-and-fall hazards, electrocution, back injuries, chemical burns and other dangers in your workplace environment. The following are hazards for which to look out whenever you are in the workshop:

  • Housekeeping and floor care -- Vehicle maintenance involves slippery fluids such as oil and transmission fluid, and spills left uncleaned can lead to slip-and-fall incidents causing serious injuries. Allowing open chemical containers in the work area can cause problems such as respiratory irritation, and tools or car parts lying around the work area can create trip hazards that may have severe consequences.
  • Hand and feet protection -- Toxic chemicals, hot engines, sharp edges and sharp objects can cause injuries to your hands. For that reason, appropriate gloves are essential to avoid chemical irritation and burns, cuts, and more. Due to the probability of encountering slippery walkways, you can prevent injuries by wearing non-slip shoes in the workshop.
  • Eye protection -- Small auto parts and chemicals can cause severe damage to your eyes; therefore, properly fitted eye protection is essential. It can also protect eye damage caused by grinding and welding.
  • Electricity hazards -- Electrocution hazards originate from the batteries of the vehicles, the power tools you use and the automotive electric components. Furthermore, repairing tools without turning off power can potentially be deadly.
  • Chemical poisoning -- Ingestion, inhalation and skin contact of paints, solvents, various chemicals and other vehicle fluids can cause chemical poisoning, and compounds must never be present in areas where you eat or drink. All substances must have identifying labels, and data sheets must be available.
  • Lifting techniques -- Your job will require frequent lifting of heavy objects, and learning proper lifting techniques can prevent back injuries that could have long-term consequences and chronic pain.

Certification and training

While avoiding these auto mechanic workshop hazards may keep you safe, it may be unwise to agree to do any work for which you are not trained or do not have the required certification. Howeverr, if you do suffer workplace injuries, you might find comfort in knowing that the Oklahoma workers' compensation insurance program will be there for you. You will likely receive coverage of your medical expenses and lost wages, and claiming these benefits may be uncomplicated with the help of experienced legal counsel.

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Dawkins & Gowens Law Firm
1601 NW Expressway, Suite 1210
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Toll Free: 800-542-4424
Phone: 405-848-4444
Fax: 405-843-1246
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