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Automotive Workplace Hygiene

Example Operating Guidelines

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Reception, Inspection, and Enrollment of Vehicle

  • As the world continues to change with the COVID-19 pandemic, determining how to help protect employees and customers is top of mind. To assist our valued shop customers, 3M is providing a series of example operating guidelines, designed to help apply the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to a typical collision repair shop and car care setting. Collision repair and car care shops are responsible for health and safety at their worksite and for adapting these example operating guidelines as appropriate for their particular work environment and in accordance with the latest guidance from applicable local and national public health authorities.


  • icon image of 2 people with an arrow noting 6 feet of separation

    1 - Minimize In-Person Contact

    Communicate electronically with customers as much as possible. Make arrangements in advance with the vehicle owner/ your customer with the exact time the car will be ready for pick-up. This step will help minimize the number of people and time spent in the waiting room. As a courtesy, provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) for customers as they walk into the shop. Greet customers with a wave while avoiding handshakes. Recommend a plexiglass barrier between receptionist and customer. Arrange wait room to help maintain social distance between customers (e.g., space chairs).

  • icon of hand washing under a running faucet

    2 - Personal Hygiene Recommendations

    Practice social distancing, proper hand washing, and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth). If you must cough, use your elbow and face the opposite direction of any people. Be sure to stay at home if you are sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before and after eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty).

  • icon of of hand wiping down a keyboard

    3 - Follow Workplace Hygiene Recommendations

    • Install recommended hygiene posters (available on WHO or CDC websites) in common areas around the shop to keep recommended hygiene practices visible for employees and customers. Regularly clean high-touch surfaces and high- traffic areas of the shop using soap and water, then use an EPA registered disinfectant* that is appropriate for the various surfaces. Follow instructions on the disinfectant product label to ensure safe and effective use of the product, including recommended contact-time and reapplication requirements.
    • Examples of high-touch surfaces include: exterior and interior building door handles, bathroom knobs, handles and faucets, desktop and computer equipment, and phones and cell phones.
    • Examples of high-traffic areas of the shop include: waiting rooms, kitchen and break areas and other common areas. Remind each shop employee or technician to wipe down shared tools or equipment with disinfectant after use.
    • As best practice, employers should consider establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time. This allows staff to maintain a safe distance from one another while giving shops the opportunity for a full onsite work week. Whenever possible, discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other tools and equipment.
  • icon of  person wearing a face mask

    4 - Wear Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment

    Based on your role in the shop, be sure to wear the proper personal protection equipment (PPE). The types of PPE required during a COVID-19 pandemic will be based on the risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 while working and job tasks that may lead to exposure. When selecting PPE, consider factors such as function, fit, decontamination ability, disposal, and cost. Each employer should select the combination of PPE that protects workers specific to the workplace. PPE may be required to reduce exposures to the disinfectant used. Refer to the SDS for recommended PPE. Inspect PPE for defects or damage prior to use.

  • icon of person wiping down steering wheel

    5 - Clean and Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces of Vehicle Prior to Inspection

    Clean all high-touch surfaces of the vehicle using soap and water, then use an EPA registered disinfectant* that is appropriate for the vehicle’s various substrates and surfaces. Follow instructions on the disinfectant product label to ensure safe and effective use of the product, including recommended contact-time and reapplication requirements. Test the disinfectant on an inconspicuous area of the surfaces to ensure that it is compatible with the surface.

    Note: reference vehicle manufacturer website / owner’s manual for guidance on product suitability.

    Examples of high-touch surfaces of the vehicles include:
     

      • Keys and/or key FOB
      • Start/stop buttons
      • Exterior & interior door handles
      • Steering wheel
      • Door trim
      • Switches and buttons
      • Wiper & headlight controls
      • Center console along with armrests
      • Any window/seat/mirror controls
      • Rear-view mirror
      • Seatbelt buckles and anchors
      • Gear selector
      • Radio
      • HVAC areas

      Use caution when cleaning and applying disinfectant to sensitive surfaces such as touchscreen displays and refer to the owner’s manual for directions for cleaning sensitive surfaces.

  • icon of hand wiping down front of car

    6 - Clean and Disinfect Repair Areas of Vehicle

    Once repair area(s) have been defined, be sure to clean the repair area, then use an EPA registered disinfectant* that is appropriate for the repair area before work begins. Follow instructions on thedisinfectant product label to ensure safe and effective use of the product, including recommended contact-time and reapplication requirements. Test the disinfectant on an inconspicuous area of the surfaces to ensure that it is compatible with the surface.

    Note: reference vehicle manufacturer website / owner’s manual for guidance on product suitability.

  • icon of person with thought bubble containing a wrench

    7 - Practice Social Distancing During Communication of Estimate, Scheduling, and Vehicle Pick-Up

    When explaining the repair estimate to customer, maintain proper social distancing. Whenever possible, avoid passing back and forth too much paper (i.e., written estimate documents, leaflets, brochures, or booklets). Look for ways to review the estimate and send communication electronically. Schedule or book the appointment for vehicle repair electronically. Communicate the exact time of the vehicle pick-up to help reduce the time spent waiting.

  • icon of a spray bottle being held

    8 - Disinfect All Areas of Contact

    Once estimate is complete, clean and use an EPA registered disinfectant* on all areas of contact while estimate was performed with the same method used for the relevant substrate prior to repair.


Important notes

  • This example operating guideline document is informational in nature and designed to assist our valued shop customers apply the guidance of the WHO, CDC, and OSHA (as of May 5, 2020) to the collision repair shop setting. Collision repair shops are responsible for adapting these example operating guidelines as appropriate for their particular work environment and in accordance with the latest guidance from applicable local and national public health authorities.

    For any country, including the U.S., local regulations should always be consulted before selecting and utilizing a disinfectant cleaner.

    Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) regulations may exist that prohibit the use of certain alcohol solutions or solvents. Consult with your local Country, State, or Provence environmental authorities to determine whether the use of a solution or solvent is restricted or prohibited in your area.


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