NIOSH Releases Automotive Repair Safety Agenda

Health and safety issues in the automotive repair industry include injuries involving sprains and strains, cuts and lacerations, and bruises and contusions.

Through the National Services Agenda, NIOSH and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) recently developed safety health and goals for the automotive repair industry.

The automotive repair, maintenance, and similar industries employ automotive service technicians and mechanics, automotive body repairers, automotive glass installers, and bus/truck and diesel mechanics who total more than 1.3 million workers in the U.S. Major segments of the industry are automobile dealerships, franchise general repair and specialty shops, and locally owned repair establishments. Greater than 95 percent of the nearly 150,000 automotive repair and maintenance firms are small businesses that employ fewer than 20 people.

What are the important health and safety issues in automotive repair?

  • Injuries involving sprains and strains, cuts and lacerations, and bruises and contusions.
  • Events such as contact with objects or equipment, slips, trips and falls, and overexertion.
  • Injury sources like floor and ground surfaces, parts and materials, hand tools, and vehicles.
  • Fatalities from contact with objects or equipment, especially struck by falling objects, transportation events, and fires and explosions.
  • Workplace violence and elevated homicide and suicide risks.
  • Exposures to chemicals, biological materials, vehicle exhaust, and asbestos.

Small businesses may not have safety and health professionals on staff, yet they can reduce injury and illness risks by obtaining safety and health information and adopting recommended practices. Most trade associations, franchisors, workers’ compensation insurance groups, and state health or labor departments are excellent resources for safety and health program materials. Comprehensive injury and illness prevention programs are recommended to reduce the risks for occupational injury, illness, and death.

You can:

  • Identify and evaluate hazards and adopt effective hazard controls and safe work practices to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Lead a work group to address priority issues to help inform employers and policy makers about hazards and successful interventions.
  • Assist in the design of an effective system to track occupational injuries and illnesses in the automotive repair/maintenance industry.
  • Represent a partner organization to work on a goal implementation plan.

The NORA Services Sector Council developed strategic goals for the Automotive Repair Industry to address priority workplace safety and health issues. The Council will track accomplishments through 2016.

NORA said partnerships are needed to achieve these goals to reduce work-related injury, illness, and death among auto repair and maintenance services employees:

  • Promote the development of comprehensive occupational safety and health programs for automotive repair and maintenance establishments.
  • Evaluate potential exposures to hazardous materials in automotive repair and maintenance facilities.
  • Develop and evaluate effective training materials that assist employers and employees in the recognition and control of hazardous materials in automotive repair and maintenance facilities.

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