• Safety Solutions Can Improve Productivity, Performance

    Repair shop

    • When it comes to shop safety, there are some relatively simple improvements from the safety experts at 3M that you can make around your shop to improve your team’s safety, healthiness and injury-free work time.

      The physical hazards threatening auto body worker safety include repetitive stress, overexertion and other ergonomic injuries, high-volume noise, oil and grease on walking surfaces, and cuts and lacerations from working with machinery. Workers in auto body shops are potentially exposed to a variety of chemical hazards that include volatile organics from paints, fillers and solvents.

      While OSHA encourages all members of an auto body shop staff to use the appropriate safety gear, sometimes that isn’t always easy to ensure complete compliance. And, there are also some elements in the shop environment that can impact safety standards.

      "Here are six areas where a shop owner can minimize the risks of their workers, and for overall shop issues," says Shawn Collins, Senior Technical Services Engineer and I-CAR instructor. "There are incremental levels of investment in the approach to shop safety, but each improvement provides benefits to the technicians who work there and, long term, for the owner in respect to reduced workers' comp claims, lost-time injuries, shop performance and worker retention, and ultimately, customer satisfaction."

      Six Tips for the Path to Safety

      Reduce Slips and Falls on Shop Surfaces

      • First, conduct good housekeeping – if you aren't open on Saturdays, make that cleanup day. Clean floors and surfaces with a dirt, grease and grime remover to eliminate particulate dust and debris in the environment, improve the look of the facility and reduce the chance of slipping in high-traffic areas.
      • Install slip and fall tape on ramps, walkways, steps and other high-traffic areas
      • Ensure customer entryways and access points to shops have clean, non-slip floormats – a great opportunity for branding!
      • Consider new floor coatings that make it easier to wash away dirt and grime and provide improved traction for better footing.

    • Total Automotive Sanding System

      Eliminate Dust – One of Workers and Customers’ Biggest Complaints about a Body Shop

      • If you don’t have a dust extraction system, you have to be hyper-vigilant about cleaning every night, which takes lots of man hours. Dust pervades every surface of the shop, impacting the quality of your paint jobs, your front office cleanliness and your worker satisfaction.
      • Consider a new technology like the Total Automotive Sanding System from 3M and Festool that provides mobile units for body prep, paint prep and paint finishing, with completely portable dust extraction to reduce the dust level in the shop and on the technician. The tools also feature ergonomic, non-slip tool design to reduce user stress, and a pad brake provides less tool free spin, reducing cut risks.

      Protect Your Painters – and Those Working around the Paint Booth

      • Spray painting requires a heavy-duty respirator – not a simple face mask or even a ventilated face mask – a full-face respirator with fresh air supply is ultimately the best option.
      • Work with experts like 3M to ensure respirators for your team are the right one for the job and properly fitted to filter out fumes
      • Isocyanates from paint can be absorbed through the skin and the eyes even more than the lungs. Gloves, paint suit, and eye protection is a must for the painter.
      • Ensure your paint booth is properly vented and sealed to reduce flow of fumes into the shop.

    • Grinding

      Cutting, Grinding and Polishing Metal – the Life of the Body Man

      • Hearing protection is key, and often overlooked. Keep boxes of disposable earplugs throughout your body prep area to ensure they are used
      • Get the proper gear – a full face welding helmet is the best protection. Long sleeves and approved work gloves will reduce burn risks, and leather, high-top work boots help prevent injuries from heavy panels or cars and toxic materials.

      Keep Equipment in Working Order

      • Conduct routine maintenance and housekeeping measures
      • Follow manufacturers’ warranty on replacement of parts, repair
      • Look for equipment replacement options that require less energy use and provide better ergonomic and environmental benefits

      Create and Rehearse a Worksite Disaster Plan

      • Appoint someone as the crisis point person such as the shop foreman or production manager
      • Plan what to do and who to call if there is a chemical spill or accident
      • Plan for how to react if there is a fire that endangers not only the structure but also customer vehicles

      Planning for safety and taking time to implement improvements may seem like a short term impact against shop productivity and profitability, but it can deliver benefits in the long run.

      For more safety solutions from 3M, contact Mark Algie at msalgie@mmm.com or visit 3MCollision.com.