Monday, 24 September 2018 19:46

ASA, Cintas Offer Webinar on 'Ensuring Safety in Every Corner'

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On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) partnered with Cintas to provide an informative session titled “Shop of the Future: Ensuring Safety in Every Corner.”


This brief contribution to ASA’s Webinar Wednesdays featured a presentation by Cintas National Account Manager Ian Adams.


The webinar began with ASA Vice President Tony Molla welcoming attendees and introducing the seminar’s presenter, who would “walk us through some very important information on safety hazards in the shop and ensure you’re following safety procedures. He will help make you more aware of where these hazards might be,” Molla explained.


Adams began by displaying a CAD drawing that demonstrated automotive shop hazard areas to provide insights on which areas in the shop might need attention. He also noted that “a clean shop is a safe shop” and stated his intention to help attendees “prevent common safety issues you might have in the shop.”


Adams explained that slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In fact, falls account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits, making it the leading cause of emergency room visits at 21.3 percent, and falls also account for around 25 percent of all repaired injury claims per fiscal year. Employees slipping on slick floors accounts for 85 percent of worker’s compensation claims, and 22 percent of slip or fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work. Compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip and fall accidents reach an approximate $70 billion each year.


Common locations and reasons for slips, trips and falls include wet or greasy floors, dry floors with dust or powder, uneven walking surfaces, recently waxed floors, loose flooring, missing tiles and bricks, sloped walking surfaces, clutter, electrical cords, open desks, metal surfaces, wet leaves and more, but Adams assured attendees that there are easy solutions to avoiding these situations. Some of these solutions include displaying “wet floor” signs when needed and cleaning up spills immediately.


Shops should use moisture-absorbent mats with beveled edges in entrance areas, ensuring the backing material does not slide on the floor. Proper area rugs and mats should be used in areas with extra hazards, such as grease use or wet floors.



Adams recommended, “Make sure your floor is covered by National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) mats. NFSI mats are the safest for the shop, and they also recommend where you should place them, such as in high-traffic areas like entryways and by counters.”


Turning to fire safety, Adams noted, “Most of these items are pretty common,” before delving into details about fire extinguishers, exits signs, fire alarms and sprinkler systems. “The first line of defense against a fire of limited size is your fire extinguisher, especially in areas where you’re working with oil, gasoline or anything flammable. Make sure you have the proper extinguishers that cover the types of fluids you’re working with. You can minimize damage immediately if you have multiple extinguishers in the shop so that one is always within close proximity. You also need to get it checked annually, at a bare minimum. Each extinguisher should have an inspection date within the past 12 months by a certified inspector. There are companies, such as Cintas, that do these inspections, or you can contact your local fire department and marshals for an inspection.”


Exit signs and lighting are commonly seen along exits, and most contain a backup battery so that they will still work if a power outage occurs.


“These are key to guiding other individuals out of the shop in the event of a fire,” Adams explained.


Fire alarms sound an alert to announce a fire and initiate an appropriate response. It’s important to monitor and maintain alarms every six to 12 months to ensure they work appropriately. Sprinkler systems do not prevent a fire, but they are intended to minimize the amount of damage and losses if a fire occurs. These should also be inspected regularly.


Adams also emphasized the importance of keeping a fire aid kit handy in the shop “to help an injured person before emergency personnel can arrive.”


“You should install a cabinet of OSHA-certified/compliant materials to use in case of an employee or customer injury,” he said. “OSHA requires that adequate first aid supplies be readily available and that a person or persons should be adequately trained to render first aid. These materials should be kept in a single location and made available to all employees so they can render the necessary first aid in the event of an injury.”



Recommending that shops also offer lockers to store personal protective equipment (PPE), Adams defined this equipment as the head-to-toe PPE offerings available for daily use to prevent injuries.


“Providing a location where they can keep their gloves, helmets, safety glasses, etc. in one place and keeping it stocked on a regular basis shows that you care about your employees, which increases morale when they know that you care about their safety,” he said.


Automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) are crucial, and Adams suggests every shop invest in at least one of these machines, keeping it close enough that it can be accessed in the recommended one to three minutes. He explained that more than 400,000 Americans die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, the number one killer in the workplace, but over 80 percent of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest will survive if an AED is used within the first one to three minutes.


As his presentation concluded, Adams emphasized, “These preventative measures are just a few of the key points in which your business can save face and make your workplace a safe place for your employees and customers. This information is intended to help guide you in the proper direction for your business and is not intended as a substitute for any OSHA certification or class. Cintas recommends that at least one person from your shop take the full OSHA certification course in order to know all the rules and guidelines necessary to keep the shop up-to-date and to ensure everyone is aware of the safety guidelines.”


The webinar concluded with a question-and-answer session.

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