Fleet Maintenance Operations – Shop Safety

Mechanics and technicians performing truck maintenance and repair face many types of safety hazards. Hazards that turn into accidents can mean lost profits to your business or serious, even fatal injuries.

Safety Rules

Adapt the following safety rules to your fleet maintenance/repair operations:

• Work safely at all times

• Prohibit horseplay in the workplace

• Wear recommended personal protective equipment at all times

• Wear seat belts while operating any vehicle

• Maintain good housekeeping conditions

• Keep protective guards on machines at all times

• Secure compressed gas cylinders in an upright position with caps in place

• Store and dispense flammables using approved safety containers

• Ensure that hoists are safe and secure before working under or around them

• Ensure safety locks on hoists are engaged and functional

• Only trained, qualified employees should operate machinery and equipment

• Use lockout/tagout procedures while inspecting, repairing or maintaining equipment

• Keys should be removed from the ignition and wheels should be chocked until the work is completed and all personnel/tools are clear

• Observe all signs, warnings and labels posted on containers and machinery

• Post signs and strictly observe “no smoking” areas

• Instruct in the location and proper use of fire extinguishers

• Follow Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for recycling or disposal of solvents, fluids, refrigerants and waste

• Follow prescribed safety procedures for removing brake dust from brake drums, hardware or calipers

• Correct discovered safety hazards

• Report all injuries to management

• Take disciplinary action for shop safety rule violations

Personal Protective Equipment

The need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while working in a maintenance shop is essential. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules for the use of PPE cover protection necessary for the eyes and face, head, hands and feet as well as requirements for hearing and respiratory protection.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slip, trip, and fall accidents can be serious and often force employees to miss work for long periods. Prevention is usually simple and inexpensive, involving little more than good housekeeping.

Electrical Safety

Mishandled electrical contact can kill or cause severe and permanent injury. Workers are exposed to additional hazards because service areas can be cluttered with tools and materials and because many jobs involve electric power tools.


Fleet maintenance and repair shops contain a variety of machines and devices that require guarding to protect both employees and customers. Typical situations in a fleet shop that need guarding include: air compressors, bench grinders, bearing press machines, hoist pits, stairs and stair wells, bending machines, strut compressors, lathes, saws, and elevated openings.

Controlling Hazardous Energy

While performing maintenance or repair on machinery or equipment, an accidental release of energy can cause serious injury. OSHA rule 1910.147, The Control of Hazardous Energy, requires that certain procedures be followed to prevent injury. These procedures are commonly called ‘lockout/tagout’. The purpose of lockout/tagout is to locate these energy sources and remove or isolate the energy to allow the repair or maintenance work to be performed without exposing the worker to the hazardous energy or accidental start-up.

Welding and Cutting Safety

Welding and cutting activities can expose mechanics and technicians to many different hazards including fire, electrical and exposure to welding fumes and gases. Welding and cutting requires that workers have special training and specific workplace controls.

Manual Materials Handling

Almost any type of activity in a fleet service shop involves the physical handling of parts, product or equipment. Safeguards and safe work practices can help prevent material handling injuries.

The Hazards of Working with Single-Piece and Multi-Piece Rim Wheels

The employer must provide a program to train all employees who service rim wheels in the hazards involved and the safety procedures to be followed. The principle difference between accidents involving single-piece rim wheels and those involving multi-piece rim wheels is the effect of the sudden release of the pressurized air contained in the wheel.

OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.177

This standard, applied to the servicing of multi-piece and single piece rim wheels on large vehicles, includes: (1) training for all tire servicing employees; (2) the use of industry accepted procedures that minimize the potential for employee injury; (3) the use of proper equipment such as clip-on chucks, retraining devices or barriers to retain the wheel components in the event of an incident during the inflation of tires; and (4) the use of compatible components.

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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