A car workshop and functioning garage has the potential to be a hazardous environment if the right precautions are not taken. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to ensure your car workshop is as safe as possible for your employees. To help you out, we’ve put together a few tips to get you on the road to better fire safety precautions.
Like all industrial work environments, your car workshop will be subject to various health and safety laws to ensure the safety of yourself and your employees. You need to make sure that you know which regulations affect your business, as well as the responsibilities that they place on you as an employer.
For instance, all car repair workshops are required to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which covers more general issues around workplace safety. There’s also the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), which regulates the use of your workshop equipment, as well as the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) for the use of lifting equipment, such as vehicle lifts.
When it comes to fire safety, businesses must comply with the fire safety order (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005).
By law, if you are responsible for commercial premises such as a garage or car repair workshop, you need to make sure that a Fire Risk Assessment has been completed by a competent person. It's mandatory to carry out a detailed assessment identifying the risks and hazards in the premises. It must be recorded if you have a total of five or more employees. The responsible person for the premises is also required to:
In your workshop or garage, some of the biggest threats to safety come from chemical and electrical hazards, as well as the many dangers posed by fire. You can minimise the risks associated with these by practicing a cautious approach, then making sure your employees follow suit.
It’s important to provide adequate PPE such as gloves and glasses which are essential when working with potentially harmful chemicals. When storing these substances on-site, you will need to make sure they’re labelled with the right safety information and instructions for use, and your staff should know exactly where to access these details. You’ll also need secure storage to make sure these chemical products can’t be mishandled or stolen.
As standard practice, you should have an emergency electrical shut-off installed in your workshop already, but you need to ensure each of your employees knows where it is and how to use it in the event of an emergency. Regularly inspect all of your power tools and other machinery for any signs of frayed cables or loose sockets, which will minimise the chances of electrocution or electrical fire.
Fires can be caused by a whole host of things, including chemical and electrical mishaps, and that’s why it’s important to be prepared. Your workshop should have a working set of fire extinguishers that are checked regularly to ensure that they can be used straight away, and your employees should receive full training in their use. Your fire evacuation plan should be posted throughout the workshop and staff must be made aware of what they need to do and where to go.
The most likely types of fires which occur in a garage setting are Class A fires which involve fabrics and plastics which make up the interiors of most makes of cars. The contents of your office area are also highly combustible, including paperwork, files, chairs and desks.
A foam fire extinguisher, like the Commander Contempo 9ltr AFF Foam - Stainless Steel, is suitable for use on Class A fires and is a highly cost-effective item of firefighting equipment for your garage. You should mount one on the wall of your workshop in an easily accessible place, where the label is clearly visible. All fire extinguishers need to be checked and serviced regularly to ensure they are always in good working order.
If you follow these tips, you will be securing your car workshop is a safe place for you and your employees to work.
At Hartson Fire, we can supply fire extinguishers, strands and signage as well as carrying out regular servicing. Our experienced engineers can also help with your initial fire risk assessment and recommend the number of extinguishers you will need and where they should be located.
To find out more, call us today on the number below or visit our website, www.hartsonfire.co.uk