Mechanic and Shop Safety – It Goes Beyond Cuts and Burns

After a conversation on twitter, I wanted to talk a little about safety. Let’s face it, the environment mechanics work in, is not the safest place in the world. In fact we have to attend an annual safety meeting to be sure that we know NOT to put gasoline in a Gatorade bottle, because you will forget, and then drink it. 😉

There are very standard hazards like, slipping and falling, getting cut, and dropping things. A lot of times these hazards can be avoided, or the effects mitigated by wearing proper attire, and not being stupid! We had a guy at the shop stab a wire tool through his hand. He was holding the connector in the palm of his hand, and slipped or something, the result was him being out for several months. It is just like cutting something INTO your hand, instead of away from it. ~DON’T TO THAT~

We also deal in some pretty gross chemicals. Gas, coolant, brake cleaner, brake fluid (and more) can be bad news. Most are under pressure while in a car. Hot coolant will melt skin on contact. Most of the chemicals in a car are are very toxic. I use gloves almost all the time to try and keep my hands from getting jacked up. Well, that and I don’t really like getting dirty.(is that weird?) Safety when it comes to chemicals is so important. I can’t even begin to tell you what an eye full of gasoline feels like.

One of my lease favorite things about this job is dealing with cars that have water damage. Going beyond the smell, and dealing with interiors that are wet, they can have mold build up. I have worked on so many cars with water damage it is not even funny. I remember one Passat that I worked on, you could see the line on the door panel where the water had been. At one time there must have been 10 inches of water standing in the car. Turns out it was from New Orleans and was flooded by hurricane Katrina.

Inhaling badness is also something we deal with. The conversation on twitter was about a how one of the techs in the shop was being dumb and not paying attention to what he was doing. He had a car running while filling it with coolant. The coolant spilled over and hit the cars exhaust. That caused the coolant to become steam and “smoke” up the shop. The smell of burning coolant smells like burning syrup, and not in a good way. I also remember one time where an oil seal went bad on a turbo. This pumped about 2qts of oil into the exhaust. After replacing the turbo, I had to burn all the oil out. It looked the the shop was on fire. Let me tell you how breathing that stuff is awful, and then you stink like burning oil the rest of the day.

Working in a shop is not the most dangerous job in the world, but its does have some concerns. Most of the hazards can be avoided by not being stupid, and using proper equipment. Working smart and clean will help to mitigate lots of injuries! Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and sore backs are not avoidable, but safety needs to be taken seriously!

One more thing, don’t forget to check out the Automotive Forum. It is not just for mechanics. I actually have a section just for customers to post questions, comments and brag about their mechanics! Just remember, I am trying to keep all the spam out. You will need to be approved, and that might take a few hours. If you sign up and don’t get an approval, just contact me with your email and let me know. I get about 50 spams a day on the forum.

15 replies
  1. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    I use gloves all the time. Keeps my finger nails clean from oils and grease and I don’t mess up my bathroom sink by washing my hands. I also find that the gloves I use give me added grip. There is nothing wrong with not liking dirty hands 🙂

  2. Mustang
    Mustang says:

    Oh, c’mon, no one would really be stupid enough to drink gasoline from a Gatorade bottle would they? I mean, really.
    Kevin………what do you think?

  3. Chris
    Chris says:

    Sad as it is, I could see someone drinking gas out of a gatorade bottle. I used to work with an ASE master certified guy, had 25 years of experience, and he’d still smoke while changing fuel filters. There’s always that one guy…

  4. Garrett Craven
    Garrett Craven says:

    Ive never seen somone drink gas…BUT!…i did watch a friend drink an emptied can of beer that he urinated in shortly prior…ewww..still makes me quiver lol.
    And on the safety note..the worst cut i ever got was out of pure stupidity. I tossed a loose razor blade in the top of my tool box and a little while later after smashing my frozen knuckle (you know how much that hurts!) i threw the wrench and angrily dug for another. End result- blood spraying (literally!), bone showing in my finger and me laying on the floor! The next day i got rid of ANY razors i had and got a new SEALED case to keep em in lol.

  5. Garrett Craven
    Garrett Craven says:

    Also..avoided a trip to the hospital with super glue and electrical tape! Yup, sure did lol. Took a few tried cuz the glue bubbled up from blood pressure but it worked 🙂 sorry if i grossed yas out.

  6. Charles
    Charles says:

    So it turns out that someone in my area did this. They had to go to the hospital and everything. My wife told me that it was funny I said something about drinking gasoline. I told her that I knew someone that did that. She didn’t believe me.

  7. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    I was loading a transmission into a crate with a guy Travis and his hand slipped. When he dropped his half the transmission fell and the side of the trans pan cut my right index finger off. After about 6 hours in the E.R. I had it back on. The iodine and needs in the ope. Wound/nub was horrible. And I had to work in the shop for three weeks with one hand.


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