Attention Automobile Painters: Wear the Right Gloves!

In your auto repair shop, you understand that your employees come in contact with hazardous and toxic materials on an everyday basis. This is especially true for your automobile painters. Last week, we discussed the importance of gloves and your responsibilities as an auto body shop employer. This week, we would like to dig deeper into the types of gloves you should be providing to the painters in your shop.
First, never make the mistake in choosing gloves based on the price. Cheaper is not better! There are some gloves that will NOT provide the same level of protection as others. For example, painters should never wear latex gloves. Latex gloves may be a cheap option, but they offer little to no protection because they quickly degrade after being exposed to many chemicals that are found in paint materials.
A better choice would be to look into Nitrile gloves. This type of material provides a better barrier to most paints and organic solvents. Nitrile gloves can provide better safety and usually only costs about $10 per box of 100 pairs. However, do NOT think these gloves will protect you from ALL chemicals. Certain solvents are stronger than others, such as methyl ethyl ketone. This chemical could pass through nitrile gloves, especially during direct immersion. A more expensive option, such as butyl rubber gloves, may be better if you will be immersed in these chemicals for longer than a few minutes.
The best way to make sure you are providing the right gloves is to speak with your glove distributor and have them help you identify the right gloves that will protect your employees from the specific chemicals and products you are using.
By providing the right gear, equipment and gloves to your workers, you may be avoiding the worst case scenario. The last thing you need in your shop is to be short staff because employees are out and collecting workers compensation! Of course, your garage insurance policy is ready to handle workers compensation claims and injuries, but it is still best to avoid if possible. Follow the advice above and you will be lowering this risk and keeping your employees safe, healthy and happy.
For more information on the garage insurance that our agency can provide you with, give us a call at 800-299-6819.

The Importance of MSD Sheets and Gloves in the Workplace

As an auto body repair shop, it is not uncommon for workers to have to tackle a paint job. As the owner of the shop, it is important that you hire individuals who are qualified to do this, making sure the job is done as professional and clean as possible. It is also your responsibility to provide the gear and equipment in order to get the job done safely. Those who handle paint materials should always wear the right gloves!

This week, we have some advice to share from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to EPA, “chemicals in paint can pass through skin and enter your body. Some of these chemicals can cause health problems, even in small amounts. For protection, wear chemical-protective gloves every time you handle paint materials, especially during paint mixing, spraying and gun cleaning.”

EPA also put together a list of the products in your shop that gloves should protect your workers from. These products in your shop include: thinners, primers, basecoats, clearcoats and hardeners. These products may contain toxic chemicals such as ethyl acetate, toluene, barium sulfate, xylene, metallic pigments, titanium dioxide, ethylbenzene and much more.

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on a simple concept – that employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to when working. They also need to know what protective measures are available to prevent adverse effects from occurring. OSHA designed the HCS to provide employees with the information they need to know.

So what responsibilities does an employer have?

• Identify and list hazardous chemicals in their workplaces.

• Obtain MSDS’s (Material Safety Data Sheets) and labels for each hazardous chemical, if not provided by the manufacturer, importer, or distributor.

• Develop and implement a written hazard communication program, including labels, MSDS’s, and employee training, on the list of chemicals, MSDS’s and label information.

• Communicate hazard information to their employees through labels, MSDS’s, and formal training programs.

Need more info? Visit the OSHA website for a pamphlet explaining your responsibilities.

Need help getting together a written safety plan, you can obtain a kit from OSHA for $1.00 or call us at Wolpert Insurance. WE can help you!

At Wolpert Insurance, we want to make sure your employees are safe from these potential health hazards. If not, your workers may be filing a claim for workers compensation much sooner than later. If you are concerned about the coverage in your garage, do not hesitate to speak with us about the auto body shop insurance policies we can provide your unique shop with.

Until then, be sure to come back next week when we will be discussing what types of gloves are best for automobile painters!


Eye Protection in the Garage

As the owner of an auto body and repair shop, you bear the responsibility of making sure all workers are protected from all possible risks. As a result, you provide training, protect your business and employees with coverage and supply the right safety equipment. You are on the right track!

However, it is important that you go much further than just providing. It is important that both you and your employees have a thorough understanding of each risk. This week, let’s focus on eye and face protection in your shop.

According to OSHA, thousands of individuals are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries, whether from flying or falling objects, sparks hitting the eye or even contact with chemicals. The sad part is, each of these injuries could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Since all of the above could happen in your shop, it is best to be prepared. Here are a few safety precautions your employees should be taking:

• Make sure all employees are wearing protective eye and face gear while working.

• Check to see that each employee’s eyewear or mask fit properly. Many injuries occur when this equipment is not suitable or fitting.

• Provide welding helmets and eye goggles to your workers.

• Keep an eyewash station in your shop for emergency situations.

• Hold an annual training session on how to use gear and equipment, as a refresher.

As you can see, preventing eye and face injuries in the shop is fairly simple. It is just up to you as a business owner to take this advice and pass along these precautions to your employees. Once you are aware, then you can provide equipment, gear and training. If you are interested in hearing more about garage insurance and workers compensation options for your shop, contact our agents at Wolpert Insurance.


The Importance of Masks in the Workplace

If you own an auto repair shop, it is safe to say that there are many toxic chemicals and particles floating in the atmosphere. With that being said, it is important that you are aware of the risks that these particles pose on your workers in the shop. Without the proper gear or protection, your employees may be filing for workers comp before you know it.

According to OSHA, there are “an estimated 5 million workers that are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the U.S.” Respirators are designed to protect workers in these conditions from insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, mists, gases, vapors, smokes and sprays. Without a respirator or mask, these hazards could cause health issues such as lung impairment, disease or even cancer.
Masks come in a variety of styles and brands, designed for specific work environments. Business owners must be aware that not all masks will provide adequate protection for workplace conditions. To find the right masks and protection for your auto body shop, it is best to turn to the OSHA website for more information. Once you do find the right mask for your shop, it may be a good idea to hold a seminar with your employees to show them how to properly wear the mask and make sure each employee’s mask fits comfortably and properly to prevent leaks and exposures.

Providing the right mask and protection to your employees will make all the difference. The fewer injuries, health issues and claims, the lower your premium will remain!

For more information on garage insurance and workers compensation, call our agents. We would be happy to speak with you!