Fleet Maintenance Operations – Hazardous Materials

Mechanics and technicians performing truck maintenance and repair tasks face many health hazards from hazardous materials used in the course of work performed. Accidents, injuries and work related illnesses can mean lost profits to your business. More importantly, these injuries can cause disabling conditions and severely alter the lives of your employees and their families.

Vehicle Exhaust Emissions
• Keep the shop well-ventilated (at least 10 air changes per hour). Consider wiring the extraction fans with the lighting circuit to ensure they’re turned on while work is performed.

• Connect an exhaust gas extraction system to the vehicle exhaust stack when the engine is operating but the vehicle is not moving, particularly while working in a vehicle inspection pit. Ensure that these extraction systems are durable and in good working condition (not crushed).

Welding Fumes

• Use local exhaust ventilation – such as a mobile extraction unit with flexible exhaust hood and ductwork – wherever possible and especially in confined spaces. Local exhaust ventilation should be vented to the outside of the shop.

Cleaning/Degreasing Solvents

• Compare material safety data sheets from suppliers to find the least harmful cleaner

• Train employees on the proper use of these materials

• Ensure the working area is well-ventilated

• Provide protective clothing, including eye protection and appropriate gloves to protect hands and forearms. Gloves and protective clothing should be cleaned or replaced regularly.

• Instruct employees to wash their hands after using these materials

Noise

• Identify noisy work areas with “hearing protection zone” warning signs and isolate the work area to reduce the number of employees at risk

• Select tools and equipment that produce the lowest noise levels

• Follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standard CFR 1910.95 Occupational Noise Exposure, which requires a hearing conservation program if noise levels reach 85 dB on an eight hour time weighted average basis

Asbestos

• Follow OSHA’s occupational exposure to asbestos regulations. OSHA Standard CFR 910.1001, Asbestos. Appendix F to 910.1101 –Work Practices and Engineering Controls for Automotive Brake and Clutch Inspection, Disassembly, Repair and Assembly specifies mandatory engineering controls and work practices that must be implemented by the employer.

Working Around Batteries

When handling battery acid or adding fluids to a battery always wear:

• Chemical splash goggles or a full-face shield with safety glasses equipped with side shields

• Acid-proof gloves (rubber or neoprene)

• Acid-resistant clothing or a plastic apron

• Acid-resistant safety shoes or boots

Hazard Communication

The different types of chemicals used in fleet service and repair pose a wide range of health hazards, such as irritation, sensitization, carcinogenicity and physical hazards like flammability, corrosion and reactivity. The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, CFR 1910.1200, is designed to ensure that information about these hazards and associated protective measures is provided to workers and employers.

Respiratory Protection

Respirators may be necessary to protect workers’ health where engineering controls such as ventilation or substitution of a less toxic chemical or material are not feasible or do not adequately reduce exposure to that material. Wherever respirators are required and used in the workplace, OSHA mandates that a ‘respiratory protection program’ be developed in compliance with OSHA CFR 1910.134 Respiratory Protection. This program must be communicated in writing.

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit ForTruckersOnly.com, or call 1-877-832-1835.

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