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The many hazards of working in an auto body repair shop

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of employees in the glass and auto body repair industry face multiple hazards every day. If you work in this industry, your employer must ensure that you receive safety training to prepare you for the dangers you will face on the job, and the precautions that you can take to avoid harm. The hazards typical to this industry include toxic chemicals, dangerous equipment that could cause amputation injuries and more. You could potentially be exposed to any of the following:

  • Repetitive Motion Disorders: These injuries result from constant stress on one part of the body. For example, workers who repeatedly have to turn manual screwdrivers put excessive pressure on their wrists. You may need to work in an awkward body position for long periods, putting undue strain on muscles and ligaments.
  • Chemical Exposure: Workers in auto body repair shops use paints, polishes, primers and fillers every day. Along with the particles and dust produced by grinders, polishers, buffing machines and other equipment, the respiratory systems, eyes and skin of workers are at risk of damage. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, asbestos exposure is also possible when working with some clutch and brake systems.
  • Sprains and Strains: With all the heavy lifting that workers in this industry have to do, strains and sprains along with back injuries that can cause long-term problems are common. Certain techniques can prevent injuries when lifting heavy objects, but mechanical lifting devices should be used for very heavy items.
  • Noise Hazards: Being in an environment where machines create continuous excessive noise can cause severe loss of hearing. Under OSHA regulations, employers must provide earmuffs, earplugs or other hearing protection to all workers who are exposed to noise levels of 100 decibels and higher.
  • Slips, Trips and Falls: Paint, grease or other liquids are quite common on the floors of auto body repair shops. If surfaces are not clear of theses spills, falls can occur that may have devastating consequences. Fractured bones, bruises, concussions and even deaths may result from accidental falls.
  • Mechanical Hazards: Equipment such as sprayers, compressors, chains, winches and more contain components that could cause severe injuries. Along with cuts and lacerations, you may suffer burns, crushed hands, severed fingers and more.

Although employers must provide safe work environments and protect workers from known hazards, not all of them comply with prescribed safety regulations. If you are a victim of a workplace accident, you may have many concerns and unanswered questions. To whom must you report the injury? Can you go to your own doctor, and who will pay the medical bills? Will you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, and, if you do, what will be covered?

Along with medical expenses, you may be concerned about the loss of wages if your injuries prevent you from going back to work for some time. You may know about others who were fired when they filed workers’ compensation claims, and fear the same might happen to you. Fortunately, you need not face this alone because an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can protect your rights. After explaining what benefits you can expect, your lawyer can navigate the workers’ compensation benefits claim on your behalf.

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