Student Safety Issues in the Automotive Lab

A container of caustic carburetor cleaner. No MSD sheet or protective gear.

A container of caustic carburetor cleaner. No MSD sheet or protective gear.

I wish all these pictures were photoshopped and not taken in high schools and tech colleges that are the training centers for our next generation of techs and service employees.

No I will not say where these are taken. I am invited sometimes to visit auto training programs and often asked by the administration to take a look. I am asked to  tell them if they should continue to fund the program or hire another teacher. All of these are the Bad and Ugly of programs. The good have been reported on earlier in posts and there are many fine, high quality programs with motivated instructors. Sadly these “Hobby Shops” are out there and have been going for years. Most of the ones where these pictures come from have been closed or have been overhauled. On these visits I have permission to video and take pictures. I then  cite the safety reasons, NATEF standards and generate a report for the administrators.

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Incandescent glass bulbs should never be used in any shop. Even rough service bulbs heat up and can cause burns and fires.

Just got this http://youtu.be/T7ESQzY6spI  please get rid of any glass incandescent lamps, drop lights etc. Is your lab or student worth a cheap light? Thanks Bob!

Yes the incandescent bulb will cause gasoline to explode if a drop gets on it when hot. Several shops burn every year due to the use of these. The hot metal of the frame will burn skin if touched by a hand or arm. Yes the handle on this light is taped up from a previous pulling out of the cord. IMHO these types of lights have no place in a lab.  I know personally of two retail operations that burned due to the employees use of these lights. I see these in labs. Please get rid of them and use something that will not harm a student.

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Yes that is an old fuel tank under the tires with some type of caustic carburetor cleaner in the 5 gal container. The MSDS on the Carb cleaner was not found but later I looked it up. Very harmful on contact with skin or eyes. No Personal Protective gear such as gloves were found. I asked what it was used for and was told the students clean parts with it. This cleaner is a hazardous materiel and must be disposed of properly
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Note the wire brush has no safety guard. I assume the chair is for sitting if you get tired working? The  grinder was not bolted down and there was no sign of eye protection or face shield. You know a wire brush sheds wire if you have ever used one. If you use one of these wire brushes on a grinder or power tool note that old brushes rapidly shed the wire pieces and they will stick in clothing and skin. Hate to know what they do to an eye. I suggest if you have to have one of these you replace it regularly and have a full face shield for the user. The stack of old tires is a disposal problem, certainly only a few are needed for instruction.

Safety of the student is paramount in any evaluation of a program. If a student is injured during the lab time no matter the cause or outcome, the accident is a problem for the instructor. Even minor issues that are bound to happen like small cuts and such are a hassle. Some instructors have gone their whole career without a serious incident. Operation of an training lab involving sharp objects, extreme temperatures, moving, rotating machines, hazardous chemicals, flammable liquids and gases and high voltage circuits is difficult in a safe organized shop. Teaching in the environment shown here in these pictures would be next to impossible.
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This exhaust hose reel is missing the hose. Running an engine in the lab requires the use of exhaust extraction. Passive systems may work but I doubt the effectiveness on all application. Every time I have observed  a passive system in use, the students complained of head aches. This is due to CO as the first symptom is headache.
The tire machine is not bolted down. I assume the acetylene torch set keeps it nice and secure?2013-01-30_10-44-01_36
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A face shield would be nice. So would proper storage of consumables.

Lot of these older brake service machines give good service, but this one has no safety guard. Note the storage or lack of it. Consumables everywhere in this lab.
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Top heavy machines can tip over and should be bolted down.

Any equipment that is designed by the manufacturer to be bolted down needs to be secured. Floor stripe is history
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Looks like the Exxon Valdez looking for a place to land. What many school systems don’t realize is that OSHA and EPA can fine them for things like this. Besides being a fire hazard the training of future techs is being done here with this as an example to them.

 At least they have a spill containment even if it grossly overloaded. The people at http://www.thenewpig.com can advise schools on what is needed to be compliant. Two students were recently seriously injured at a High School auto shop that was NOT accredited. see http://tinyurl.com/kbezo38
I was called to one of the new Charter School known as County  Academy Center of Technology. Well the name does not make the insides better. This program had been transplanted into a new building and the administration wanted to know why enrollment dropped from when it was at the high school. Anyone that understands children as teens knows they hate to give up their peer group and move to a new school that has no sports or clubs like  a comprehensive high school. These programs can become dumping grounds for the feeder schools. This was the lift that was being used. The welds were broken on the safety latches and this prevents the engagement of the locks for the arms. All four lifts were broken. While there I observed students working with no safety glasses on under the lift. I explained this to the administrator as a safety violation that could put him in jeopardy. Lifts should be certified every year.
.

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Rust streaks tell the age of the broken safety latch

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This lift is also broken. Improper placement of lift and raising a vehicle not set up correctly caused the arms to force the safety locks. This lock no longer lines up.


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Skateboard!

Clutter. Disorganized storage areas waste instructional time. Flammables are safer stored in lockers designed for containment. Teaching students proper organizational skills is a part of the operation of a lab. I am sure an advisory committee will appreciate a clean well organized lab for the training of their future employees
The same lab had tools and equipment scattered.
This lab was shared with a tech college for a night class with an adjunct instructor. I have not seen this type of program work anywhere. The adjunct instructor often as not is  a by the hour paid teacher and has no “Buy In” towards the program. Often time they are working for a college nearby and must keep up their own lab also, they simply don’t have the time.
Here is an air bag, battery and assorted parts on a steel table.  This project had parts over a wide area. No lab job sheets, task sheets or performance tests means there is a hobby shop atmosphere.

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Use project boxes for lab work that will be left over to next day.

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Gasoline storage is only allowed in approved storage lockers. Not in tool room.

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Batteries are in top right corner and air bag was live

The tool room had no organization and several gas cans with fuel in them. Parts bins can be used for projects. This hobby shop had none visibleDSC01938I opened a locker and found these tools. The administrator continually said how good the instructor was. We asked for safety glasses while we were there and the instructor left the room to find some. He never returned before I left.

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No Flammable locker and gas cans all over. Has no one ever seen a gasoline fire?

Clutter makes it hard for students to find the right tool or the part they were using. When I observe a lab like this I know that the instructor is overwhelmed and overworking because of a lack of organizing skills on the instructor’s part. Safe operation of this lab is almost impossible. No wonder the turn over for auto teachers is high.
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The main issue here is all the electrical demands of the shop floor are fed by the extension cord plugged in on the center of the wall. There was no organization of any of the tools or equipment.

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This is right in the lab with a plastic trash can nearby to add to the mix. These plastic trash cans give off poisonous fumes when they burn in the lab. Nice !

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This school is in a very well off county with lots of tax dollars. Seems the school board wanted to close the program. I was asked to evaluate the program. Over 60 auto dealers with in 20 miles and the only contact was a few phone calls to invite the dealers to an open house a few years ago. The teacher had been cut to half time.

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The instructor had cleaned up for my visit and had hauled off many truck loads of junk left over from a teacher that had retired. The admin of the school just wanted the problem to go away. This one is closed now.

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General clutter with no organized learning area. Hard to tell if anything safe can be accomplished.

 

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Outback we find oil drums with unidentified liquids in them. Who is responsible?

https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/outback-and-in-sight-used-oil-and-safety-glasses-or-how-many-lawyers-do-you-know/

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A tool locker for special tools?

Special tools are just that “Special” Students should be taught that they command respect from their users.
Instructors should realize that every tool should have a place identified and well marked with the name of the tool, operation manual included for proper storage of the special tool. The assumption that any student would know how to find or use a special tool is, well foolish.

 

 

 

 

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This lab was considered by the administration to be the best possible . This clutter was here on two separate visits.

Battery eye wash

This lab is totally redone with new equipment and quality instructors. On the day of the visit when this was taken the school resource officers arrested a student with drugs in the lab. Now on the advisement from the advisory committee new teachers were hired and the program is now one of the best.

lab classroom

A classroom in the lab area is sometimes unavoidable. While not the best situation. Safety Glasses must be worn by all persons in the room when work is being done. This program had lost their accreditation a few years before this picture. The program has since been totally overhauled.

The schools often don’t see the safety issue as some unsafe practices are accepted in industry believe it or not!

Outside storage is cluttered and unused parts seem to collect in these places.

Outside storage is cluttered and unused parts seem to collect in these places.

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Here you have a old valve machine, a differential out of something and two cans of AC refrigerant along with a grinder missing guards and brake drums. The point of this picture is that there is no instructional organization.

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An antique machine that never caught on to handle a very hazardous material.

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2 Responses to “Student Safety Issues in the Automotive Lab”

  1. Johnny Rickerson Says:

    It is sad to see these programs in such disarray. A couple of things that I am sure were missing in this equation is an active advisory committee and a properly trained instructor. If the instructor came from industry and this is the standards he had been exposed to he may not know any different. Let’s face it, there are many shops that we walk into that look like this or worse. I feel that there should be a form of safety training that is required every year for the instructors at the secondary and post-secondary levels. I feel that instead of firing the instructor that he and his supervisor should be required to go to a training program and given a chance to make things right. Once things are corrected the program should be inspected on a regular basis by the supervisor and advisory committee to insure program standards are being met.

    • autoteachersonny Says:

      Thanks for the accurate comment Johnny. You are right about training. Most instructors want to do what is right, they just don’t have the time , resources or training to do better.

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