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  • Writer's pictureDealerPILOT HR

Chemicals, Combustion and Concussions- what do they all have in common?

We often think of safety issues in terms of the big challenges, the equipment inspections and of course COVID. However, if we look to British Columbia over the last few months, we can see that there are safety trends (and risks) emerging in other areas that we need to be attentive about. So what do these three things have in common? They are all recent issues for our industry.

The province has recently made alterations to the chemical threshold limit values of a number of substances. Although most of the substances are not part of the regular duties of dealership staff, it is a good reminder to ensure that any chemicals used in or around the dealership are done so in a safe manner, that we are aware of the TLV's and that staff, vendors, contractors and others are operating safely in and around the facility.

With our industry having multiple significant injuries and incidents across the country, including fires, fatalities, and concussions we also need to re-focus our energy on the rare risks, not just the common ones.

Concussions are an emerging injury as people are returning to full time work back in the dealership. This may be do to a lack of focus, a need to reintegrate to the workplace or an increase in duties that have not been performed for a while. Regardless of the root cause, as employers we need to ensure that safe work procedures are being adhered to, that staff are current in their training and that they focus on the task at hand. This can be done through re-training, safety talks, stand up meetings, job shadowing and re-boarding and on-boarding processes.

As well, there was recently an incident in BC that involved the engine compartment of a vehicle in a service bay catching fire. Although no one was injured, it did cause significant damage to the facility. This incident occurred during a fuel injection service. Common tasks can result in uncommon consequences, so reiterating the importance of not becoming complacent, double checking for anomalies and making it OK to seek a second opinion, added guidance and further instruction can go a long way, in fact it could be life saving.

Ask your self this-

When was the last time someone did a spot check or just re-confirmed with technicians that they were "good to go" on a standard task? Even asking the question can alert a long term employee to refocus and engage in the task at hand, it can also open the door for a new employee to feel comfortable getting further clarification where they may have been afraid to ask.

Having a strong system to manage safety and seek advice on handling safety situations helps ensure that these types of challenges do not fall between the gaps. From training to tasking, managing safety should be a continuum that lasts the entire employment life of your staff.

Interested in learning more about how to improve your safety focus in a simple yet structured way? Ask us! You can email us at for more details on how we can help.

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