You always hear safety first at safety meetings, but many technicians think safety is a lot of hype and ignore the safety policies. So is safety really that important?
Let’s Talk Cars
First, since we’re all about cars, not safety, let’s talk about restoring an awesome car. Let’s say we have an unlimited budget to build a million dollar ride. You know, a car like Chip Foose at Foose Design would build. Of course, it would take hours and hours of labor and thousands of dollars to get it there, but the end result would be well worth the wait and money. Could you imagine having a ride worth one million dollars? I’m sure that you would take a lot of pride in it. I know that I would. Would you take car of it? What about storage, would you keep it in the garage or put it out back in the weather? I’m sure that you would do everything that you could to protect the car from being damaged.
If someone offered you a million dollar car like this, would you exchange it for you eyesight? What about a leg or would you trade your life for it? I am assuming you answered no, as these things are priceless to us. I would not want to even exchange my eyesight or life for a billion dollars. While most of you would agree, we are quick to ignore safety and grab a grinder and start grinding, weld without a welding helmet, paint without a paint respirator, or many other things that could affect our health without thinking twice about it. If you’re willing to take good care of a car, do you think you should take care of yourself?
Well, this is over exaggerated. Is it? There are many eye injuries and painters that have to leave the collision repair industry every year due to becoming sensitive to paint chemicals. It really happens, but the good news is that most injuries are preventable.
How To Prevent Injuries
It would take a while to explain all of the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that needs to be used, but I will highlight a few of them.
1. Eye Protection – Most schools require eye protection to be worn at all times in the shop area, but I see a lot of body shops that do not require eye protection. However, I would highly recommend that you get in the habit of wearing eye protection. Eyesight is too valuable to lose.
2. Dust masks – When sanding or grinding wear an approved dust mask. This will prevent you from breathing all of the products be sanded and other debris that is not healthy for you.
3. Respirator – The catalyzed clears and primers that are out there should not be taken lightly. They have chemicals that will mess you up. Wear an approved respirator when spraying any coatings.
4. Gloves – Chemical resistant gloves should be worn when working with chemicals. This will prevent the chemicals from entering your body through your skin.
5. Hearing Protection – You may not need to wear hearing protection at all times, but if there is griding, air chiseling or other loud things going on, protect your hearing.
Say Who….You Do!
There are many other PPE and safety procedures to consider before working in a shop area. I hope when you question who is saying safety first, you think of yourself. Forget about the policies and procedures, keep yourself safe……. you’re worth a million dollars after all!