Monday, March 23, 2015

Engine Shop Safety

An engine shop has many tools, pieces of equipment, and chemicals. This chapter deals with their proper uses and safe shop practices. The number one priority of any business should be the health and safety of its employees. Those safety issues are covered here first, followed by a safety test at the end of the chapter. The information provided will help you understand how to protect yourself from hazards in the workplace. You will also gain insight regarding the impact of safety laws on your employer.

As you read this chapter, realize that the situations described can and do occur, sometimes often. Case histories presented throughout this tips are true. Pay extra attention to the safety precautions detailed with each piece of equipment. Chemical safety is covered in this chapter as well.

When an accident occurs in an automotive shop, it is perhaps because safety considerations are not as
obvious when repairing automobiles as they are in other trades like roofing or carpentry. This is sometimes
the reason why people get hurt. Accidents are often caused by carelessness resulting from a lack of
experience or knowledge. Often someone other than the one who has been injured causes the accident and suffers from the guilt of knowing the harm that he or she has caused. In the event of an accident, inform your instructor or supervisor, who will know what procedures to follow to ensure your safety. Injured persons often suffer from shock.
When an injury does not appear to be serious enough to call an ambulance, another person should be sent with the injured person to seek professional help. Every shop should have someone trained to handle
emergencies. The American Red Cross offers thorough first-aid training.

General Personal Safety
A first-aid kit  contains items for treating some of the small cuts and abrasions that occur on a regular basis. Fires and accidents involving equipment like lifts and battery chargers happen occasionally in automotive shops. However, the most common injuries involve the back or the eyes, which are injuries that are largely

Eye Protection
Eye injuries are one of the most common injuries in an automotive shop, so continual use of glasses is recommended. Eye protection is emphasized for your own good, so use common sense. Several types of eye protection are shown in Figure 2.2.
FIGURE 2.2 Eye protection. (a) Goggles. (b) Face shield.(c) Safety glasses.

Safety glasses or a face shield must be worn when using equipment. Face shields are convenient because they can be stored with each piece of equipment. They are also easily adjustable to your head. Using a hydraulic press or pounding with a hammer can cause parts to explode and rotating tools can throw pieces of metal or grit, causing eye injuries. Prescription safety glasses are an advantage because the user always wears them.

Wearing eye protection will prevent most eye injuries. Eye protection must be worn:

• whenever working around moving parts and machinery.
• when blowing off parts with compressed air.
• when working on air conditioning. Refrigerant
contained in the air-conditioning system will instantly freeze anything with which it comes into contact. If it gets into your eyes, blindness can result. Additional cautions about skin and eye protection are covered

Back Safety
Protect your back when lifting. Following safe lifting procedures will prevent most back injuries. The normal tendency is to think that items are not that heavy, so you do not ask somebody for help. Be sure to get help when moving heavy items. If something is in an awkward position for lifting, leverage and the position your back is in can make it easier for an injury to occur. Before moving a heavy item, plan the route that the item will be carried and how you will set it down when you get there.
• If an item is too heavy to lift, use the appropriate equipment.
• Lift slowly.
• Do not jerk or twist your back. Shift your feet
• Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not
your back (Figure 2.3). Also, keep your lower back straight when lifting. Think about thrusting
your stomach out.
FIGURE 2.3 Lifting precautions.

Ear Protection
Damage to your hearing happens when you are exposed to loud noise over a period of time. A good
rule of thumb is “if you feel any discomfort from noise, you are probably hurting your hearing.”
When loud machinery and air tools are used, ear protection should be worn.

Shoes or Boots
Leather shoes or boots offer much better protection than tennis shoes or sandals. Some soles are
resistant to damage from petroleum products, and the tread can be designed to resist slipping. Boots
and shoes that have the toe reinforced with steel inserts are widely available. An additional incentive
is that safety footwear is often deductible from a technician’s or machinist’s income taxes.

Good housekeeping practices are essential when cleaning engine parts and should be carried out
throughout the rebuilding process and engine installation. A clean, orderly shop is vital for impressing
on the public that your professional repair facility is thorough and competent. Of even more importance,

however, is the health and safety of anyone in the shop area.

Shop Towels
A shop is cleaner if its technicians use shop towels when working. Greasy, oily tools and hands
should be wiped clean, preventing the mess from being spread around the rest of the shop. Most
shops have linen service for uniforms and shop towels. Shop towels are often dyed red so the linen
company can tell when they have come into contact with battery acid, which leaves blue marks on red

Spills and Oil Leaks

Slippery floors are dangerous. To avoid the possibility of a dangerous slip and fall, immediately clean up slippery spills like coolant, solvents, glass  beads, or steel shot. Preventing spills from occurring

in the first place is best, but when spills do occur, they must be dealt with immediately.
• Cleaning up a mess will prevent it from spreading around the shop.
FIGURE 2.6 When drying parts with compressed air, blow solventback into the solvent tank.
• Parts that are wet with solvent should be blown off into the solvent tank (Figure 2.6) or allowed to air dry before being moved.
• Wet parts can be carried from the solvent tank in a drain pan to prevent solvent from dripping
onto the floor (Figure 2.7).
FIGURE 2.7 To avoid dripping solvent on the floor, carry wet parts ina drain pan

• An engine should be drained of oil and coolant before removing it from the vehicle. The oil filter holds oil, so it should be removed, too. The oil and filter will need to be disposed of properly in accordance with governmental requirements.

Absorbing Spills
To prevent someone from slipping, clean oil spills immediately with greasesweep  an already soiled shop towel, or absorbent mats or pads. Greasesweep is an absorbent material like rice hull ash or kitty litter. It is swept up and reused until it becomes too wet. In fact, it works better when slightly wet because the dust that results when using new greasesweep is avoided.
Greasesweep becomes a hazardous material after it is used to soak up used motor oil or spilled

fuel. Bioremedial oil-absorbent products are newer materials sometimes used instead of greasesweep.
These products have microbes that “eat” oil or fuel, converting them to harmless carbon dioxide (CO2)
and water. Concrete floors cleaned with this material are left clean and slip resistant. A major advantage
to this method is that the need for hazardous disposal is reduced or eliminated. Superabsorbent cloths are available from waste disposal companies for soaking up spills. The disposal company collects the soiled cloths for proper treatment. There are also nontoxic water-based degreasers

Some common sense is important when dealing with fires. If the fire is burning so dangerously that
your personal safety is jeopardized, withdraw from the area immediately and call for help. But if you can
safely remove the source of fuel to a fire, do so. This might include shutting off fuel to a fuel fire or disconnecting the electrical source from an electrical fire.

Fire Extinguishers
A fire extinguisher is a portable tank that contains water or foam, a chemical, or a gas .
There are four kinds of fires, each calling for a different type of fire extinguisher

• A Class A fire is one that can be put out with water. Such things as paper and wood make up these kinds of fires.
• A Class B fire is one in which there are flammable liquids such as grease, oil, gasoline, or paint. • A Class C fire is electrical.
• A Class D fire involves a flammable metal such as magnesium or potassium.
• Either CO2 or a dry chemical fire extinguisher can be used on Class B and Class C fires.

A popular fire extinguisher is the 2-A:10-B:C. You can find this information on the label. For car fires, fire officials recommend an extinguisher no smaller than this. An extinguisher with the number 1-A:5-B:C would be one-half as big. The 1 is the size for the A (water) type of that extinguisher. The 5 is the size for Class B (flammable liquids) and C (electrical parts fires). This extinguisher does not work on Class D fires. Locate and check the type of fire extinguisher(s) in your shop. They should not be located in a place where a fire is likely to start. For instance, do not mount a fire extinguisher right over the welding bench or next to the solvent tank. If a fire began in either of these places, you would not be able to get to the fire extinguisher.

A gauge on the top of the fire extinguisher tells whether it is fully charged or if the charge pressure has leaked off. Fire extinguishers in business establishments are routinely inspected by the local fire department.

Flammable Materials
Greasesweep and shop towels soaked in oil or gasoline should be stored in covered metal containers
 Keeping oil materials separated from air prevents them from self-igniting, a process called spontaneous combustion. Used greasesweep is kept in a flammable storage container because it is reused until it becomes saturated (wet). Flammable materials that are not in approved containers must be stored in a flammable storage cabinet .

Fuel Fires
Gasoline is a major cause of automotive fires. Liquid gasoline is not what catches fire. Rather, it is the vapors that are so dangerous. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air, so they can collect in low places in the shop. They can be ignited by a spark from a light switch, the motor, electrical wires that have been accidentally crossed, or a dropped shop light. Two kinds of shop lights are acceptable. One has a fluorescent bulb enclosed in a plastic tube. The other uses a special spark-proof incandescent bulb.

Electric Shock
Twelve-volt direct current (DC) electrical systems like the ones used in automobiles are not capable of inducing serious electrical shock, unless the engine has a distributorless ignition or is a highvoltage hybrid. Shop equipment, however, is powered by either 110-volt or 220-volt alternating current. Electric shock hazards can be minimized when using electrical tools by not standing in water. To prevent a spark from jumping from the outlet to the plug, be sure that a tool is not in the “on” position before you plug it into the outlet.
Three-wire electrical tools are the best choice for commercial work. The extra terminal is connected
to ground (Figure 2.14). If you use a homeownertype tool with a two-wire plug, it should be double
insulated. Traditional automotive wiring color is black for ground and red for positive, but in commercial
wiring the green wire is for ground.

Coolant Burns
The most likely way to be burned in an automotive shop is with superheated engine coolant. Opening the radiator on a hot engine can be very dangerous. Always squeeze the top radiator hose  before opening a radiator cap .If the hose is hard and feels like it is full of coolant, the coolant level is acceptable. If the hose collapses, there is no pressure on the coolant but steam can still cause a burn, so exercise extreme caution when opening the cap.

A student had just started working in a repair shop. A customer asked him to check the radiator coolant level. When the student opened the radiator cap, he turned it one-half turn. The coolant boiled out into the coolant overflow tank, where it escaped, burning him and wasting the coolant . The radiator cap maintains pressure on the coolant when the engine heats up. Coolant’s boiling point is higher when it is under pressure.
Loosening the cap removes the pressure, causing the coolant to boil instantly and violently

Cooling Fans
The fan that draws cool air into the radiator can be belt driven or electric. Rotating fans can be dangerous

One of the most common farm injuries is lost fingers because farm machinery has many belts. Fingers
are often cut off when they are caught between a belt and pulley. Before attempting a fan belt adjustment, be sure that the keys are out of the ignition. If someone cranks the engine over, fingers can be cut off. Be certain that a helper understands what you are asking him or her to do. Assuming that your helper understands can result in an accident.

Safety Check before Test Drive
Before driving a customer’s car, remember to check the operation of the brakes and condition of the tires. Do not test drive a car with obvious safety hazards until they have been corrected. It makes no sense to test drive a car with dangerous brakes.

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