Washing cars is something a lot of people have been doing since they were kids. With a little soap, a hose and a brush, washing a car is easy to do in your driveway at home. But working at a car wash is a different story. Commercial car washes involve lots of cars moving around, large pieces of moving machinery and handling hazardous chemicals. Keep the following tips in mind to stay safe and keep operations moving effectively.
Before You Open The Car Wash
Every day before the car wash opens for business, a manager or employee should conduct an operations check. This ensures everything is in working order and a broken piece of equipment won’t damage a car or hurt someone. Using a checklist to make sure everything is covered, be sure to check the following:
- All wash equipment
- Hydraulic lines
- Floor areas, scanning for debris and puddles, which can signal a piece of equipment is broken or damaged, or cause slip and fall hazards
After a visual check, it’s recommended to put a car through the wash for a test run. While the wash is running, watch to verify all equipment is operating as it should. Also, be sure to listen. Listening for odd noises can help you detect a problem that you might not have been able to see.
Handle With Care
Be sure to use the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling any hazardous chemicals. Long, heavy rubber gloves and goggles are usually needed. Depending on the chemicals, you may also need to use a respirator mask to prevent hazardous inhalation. Only trained personnel should handle hazardous chemicals. However, all employees should be aware of the chemicals the car wash uses in case of an emergency. In the event an emergency does happen, you need to know where the material safety data sheets (MSDS) are located. Ask your supervisor if you have any questions about what chemicals the car wash uses.
No matter what your job duties are, there are some essential clothing guidelines you need to follow that will keep you and others safe. Make sure you don’t wear baggy clothes. Clothing can easily get caught in machinery and cause severe injuries. Don’t wear jewelry that could get pulled off or that could scratch or damage a customer’s car, and always remember to wear durable, rubber-soled shoes to prevent slips and falls.
In Case of Emergency
If an incident does happen, whether it be an equipment failure, a fender bender or a customer or employee fall, make sure to follow the proper procedure to report the incident. If necessary, use the emergency shutoff switch. All employees should know where it is. If you don’t know, ask your supervisor. Check for injuries and notify your supervisor right away. You or your supervisor should fill out an accident report immediately following the incident. Document any property damage to the car wash equipment or the customer’s car, and any injuries that occurred. Get details from everyone involved, and take pictures from many different angles to complete your report.
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