Collision repair

New Zealand’s collision repair industry is a thriving sector. It is also one with a variety of risks that may need to be managed.

What are the risks?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), every business has a responsibility to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, and that others are not put at risk by the work of the business (for example, customers, visitors, children and young people, or the general public).

First, you must always eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk.

The following are examples of only some of the health and safety risks for people in the vehicle repair sector. We also provide general guidance on how to manage your work health and safety risks.

Machinery in collision repair workshops including welding machines and vehicle hoists can create risks for workers if used incorrectly.

How are workers and others harmed?

People could be harmed from:

  • vehicle hoists collapsing.
  • welding fumes.
  • workers not being trained on how to use machinery and equipment correctly.
  • not wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

What can you do?

First you must eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. This might mean doing a job differently or making sure you have the right equipment for the job. Here are some examples:

  • Make sure vehicle hoists are regularly checked and maintained.
  • All workers should be trained in the safe operation of all machinery and equipment.
  • Welding should only be carried out in a well-ventilated area. Local exhaust ventilation may be required.
  • Provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure they have been trained how to properly use it.
  • Regularly maintain machinery, equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) (for example, ventilation in spray booths).

You need to select the most effective control measures that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

Workers are at risk from breathing in dust particles from panel and vehicle sanding.

How are workers and others harmed?

Using tools that aren’t fitted with a dust extraction device can lead to workers and the public being exposed to dust particles that can cause lung disease.

What can you do?

First you must eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. This might mean doing a job differently or making sure you have the right equipment for the job. Here are some examples:

  • Only use tools equipped with a dust extraction device.
  • Set up an area for sanding away from other workers and communal areas.
  • Provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure they have been trained how to properly use it.

You need to select the most effective control measures that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

 

Collision repair shops can be noisy places to work and visit. Constant exposure to noise from tools and machinery can put workers’ hearing at risk of permanent damage.

How are workers and others harmed?

Loud machines and work tools can affect a workers’ hearing. Hearing loss can also result from sudden loud noises, heavy loads being dropped, or heavy hammering. These types of noises are referred to as ‘impact’ noises and, if loud enough, can cause immediate and permanent damage.

If you are working within a metre of someone and you have to shout to be heard, then it’s likely that the noise level is excessive.

What can you do?

First you must always eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. Here are some examples:

  • Reduce noise at the source – look at ways of quietening noisy machinery or equipment.
  • Stop the noise from affecting everyone – move noisy machinery away from other workers or put up a barrier to minimise the noise.
  • Reduce the time workers are exposed to noisy environments or tasks – where possible swap workers between noisy and quiet jobs so that no one is exposed to noise for too long.
  • Wear personal hearing protection – if noise exposure is still excessive after addressing the above control measures then individual protection like ear muffs or ear plugs should be worn.

You need to select the most effective control measures that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

For more information, see our full noise guidance.

Collision repair shops are at risk of fires and explosions from the ignition of flammable gases and vapours. Spray booths require regular servicing and filter replacement to control the build-up of combustible residues on filters and fan blades.

How are workers and others affected?

Workers and visitors can be severely harmed by explosions and fires.

What can you do?

First you must eliminate the risk where you’re reasonably able to. Where you’re not reasonably able to, then you need to consider what you can do to minimise the risk. This might mean doing a job differently or making sure you have the right equipment for the job. Here are some examples:

  • Have clear NO SMOKING signs throughout the workplace.
  • Make sure light fittings and electrical sources and equipment are regularly checked and maintained.
  • Carry out welding and grinding activities away from hazardous atmosphere zones.
  • Store all hazardous substances safely, and in accordance with the relevant hazardous substances regulations.
  • Train workers in the use of fire extinguishers and make sure they are serviced regularly.
  • Make sure emergency procedures are prominently displayed and practiced regularly.

You need to select the most effective control measures that are proportionate to the risk, and appropriate to your work situation.

You can also find out which controls apply to your hazardous substance by searching for it in the Hazardous Substances Calculator(external link)

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