OSHA Guidelines in the Automotive Repair Industry

Automotive repair shops serve as essential services for vehicle owners as they help maintain their vehicles in optimal mechanical and safety condition. However, working in such environments poses significant risks to not only workers but customers as well.
Shop employee reviewing safety checklist at their auto service shop.

Over the years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed comprehensive guidelines that promote safety and protect workers (and the public) in the automotive service industry.


Chemical Exposure

One of the primary hazards that technicians in auto repair shops face is chemical exposure. From motor oil and brake fluid to refrigerants and battery acids, automotive service facilities are filled with harmful chemicals that can cause long-term damage. OSHA mandates that all service facilities must maintain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) providing information on how to handle hazardous substances, their potential risks, and precautions technicians must take when dealing with them.

The most frequently cited OSHA violation according to Repairer Driven News relates to respiratory protection. OSHA’s regulations cover control measures, respirator use, cleaning and repair, written programs, and medical evaluations for anyone wearing a respirator. These citations are usually because a business is lacking medical evaluations, a written respiratory protection program, or fit testing.


Tools & Machinery

Another important concern in auto repair shops is the use of tools and machinery, which can pose significant safety hazards. OSHA guidelines require that workers undergo extensive training before using any equipment, including lifts, welding equipment, and hand tools. Furthermore, OSHA recommends that workers always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, goggles, and respiratory masks when working with machinery.



Repair shops are often loud, and prolonged exposure to this noise can damage workers’ hearing. OSHA recommends implementing noise-reducing measures, such as using earplugs or earmuffs, limiting the amount of time spent in noisy areas, and performing regular hearing exams.


Accident Prevention

In addition to the above, OSHA guidelines also require that automotive repair shops implement an accident prevention program that includes regular health and safety training, clear communication protocols, and an emphasis on maintaining a clean and organized workspace. One important aspect of this program is creating and implementing an emergency response plan that identifies potential hazards, outlines proper response protocols, and provides any necessary supplies or equipment.


OSHA guidelines play a crucial role in promoting safety in automotive repair shops. By providing specific regulations that highlight the dangers technicians face when handling chemicals, machinery, and noise in the workplace, these guidelines can help reduce the number of accidents and injuries, protect employees, and maintain a safe working environment. Every worker and employer in the automobile industry should be familiar with these guidelines and take them seriously to promote a safer working environment.

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