What Are the OSHA Regulations for Auto Mechanics & Auto Shops?

Auto mechanics in auto shops encounter a variety of potential safety hazards, including moving car parts, toxic chemicals, electrical equipment and dangerous machines.Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for auto mechanics and auto shops require respiratory protection, machine guarding, environmental controls and other safety measures to protect workers from injuries and illnesses.

  1. Spray Finishing

    • OSHA regulations outline spray finishing rules, and auto shops frequently spray finish cars. Spraying operations should have spray booths that direct fumes toward an exhaust or ventilation system. According to OSHA regulations, spray booths should be built mostly out of steel or concrete, although the OSHA allows aluminum spray booths for low-volume operations. Employers should have spray booths with smooth interior surfaces that workers can wash easily. Combustible spray booth floors must have noncombustible covers to prevent fires when workers spray flammable liquids.

    Chemical Hazard Communication

    • Auto mechanics use a variety of potentially hazardous chemicals, including fuels, paints, oils and solvents. OSHA regulations require chemical manufacturers to assess and communicate chemical hazards to their buyers, and employers must also warn workers about chemical hazards in the workplace. Employers should provide chemical labels and warnings, training in how to safely use workplace chemicals and safety data sheets for employees. The OSHA holds employers responsible for making sure labels stay on chemical containers and workers get any necessary safety data sheets at the start of their work shifts.

    Personal Protective Equipment

    • OSHA regulations state that workers should use personal protective equipment to avoid health and safety risks from chemicals and machines that could cause injuries without protective equipment. Employers must assess workplace hazards and decide whether or not employees need to use personal protective equipment. If an employer decides that workers need protective equipment, he must require the equipment at work and make sure each employee has access to equipment that fits properly. In the auto industry, workers may need respirators to avoid toxic fumes and flame-resistant clothing, gloves or boots to protect their feet from dropped metal parts, depending on the type of work performed.

    Fire Extinguishers

    • Employers of workplaces without specific fire alarm and evacuation procedures must install fire extinguishers in the workplace, according to OSHA requirements. Workers must have easy access to fire extinguishers, and the OSHA holds employers responsible for mounting them in a safe place. Employers must maintain fire extinguishers in working condition and keep them closest to the most likely places for workplace fires to occur.

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