According to statistics gathered in 2018, workers in the automotive trade suffered 6.3 non-fatal injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees.
Interestingly, the rate for the industry remained over twice as high as the corresponding rate for all private industry each year between 2009 to 2018, highlighting the challenges facing workers in this sector. In this post, we’ll ask how you can protect yourself in this sector and work more safely in the process! Let’s get into it!
#1. Wear Protective Gloves and Overalls
Let’s start with the basics, as working in the automotive sector often requires you to work with or handle toxic paints and a range of other hazardous materials through the course of your job.
To protect against this and the associated risks, we’d always recommend that you wear protective work gloves at all times.
You may also want to consider wearing protective overalls, which remain an understated element of PPE (personal protective equipment) and one that can protect your body from hazardous materials and potential burns caused by hot oil or toxic battery fluids.
Tight-fitting overalls are recommended too, as this provides better protection for your skin overall.
#2. Identify Your Risk and Remove any Jewellery
On an individual level, it’s also important that you identify your own unique risk when working in the automotive sector and remove any unnecessary hazards from your workspace. For example, if you wear jewellery (particularly on your hands, ears or face), it may be worth removing these items to negate the risk of them becoming caught in car parts, components or machinery.
Even rings can be a potential hazard, as this can easily become caught in machines creating the very real risk of you damaging your hand or even losing a finger. You can also carry out a broader risk assessment with your employer, enabling you to remove any dangers and tripping hazards that may be present.
#3. Understand the Most Common Injury Types
As part of such an assessment, you should strive to understand the most common risks and injury types that are prevalent in the sector.
In the decade ending 2011/12, we saw that being hit by a moving or collapsing object remains the most common accident type in the automotive industry, accounting for some 27% of all incidents and causing 17 fatalities. The next most common injury is caused by a moving vehicle, which accounts for 23% of all instances and resulted in a further 14 workplace deaths.
Other accident types are far less common, including falls from height (10%), fire and explosion (10%) and contact with a harmful substance (6%). Understanding this helps you to measure risk and ultimately make more informed decisions about your safety.