Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2000   by Auto Service World

University of the Aftermarket: In-Store Safety Is Good Business

A safe environment not only reduces accidents; it can help build the quality and performance of your staff.

As we enter the 2000s, the competitive pressures of the 1990s have not been left behind. These pressures include not only going up against your competitors for additional sales and market share, but also having to compete with them for hiring and retaining the best people. To retain a quality team, one of the many things that you must do is provide a work environment that is safe and hazard free.

Ask yourself this: “How safe is my facility?” One of the prime responsibilities a store manager must face is providing a safe environment for not only your team members but also the customers. There are opportunities for injury due to falls, fire, and hazardous materials. How you deal with safety issues in the store will determine your store’s safety record. How can you go about evaluating your store’s safety and train your team members on what safety responsibilities they have? Here are a few suggestions:

To insure that your store is a safe environment for your customers and employees, begin by performing a safety inspection. Listed below is a partial list of items that should be covered:

For automatic sprinklers, are water control valves, air and water pressure checked and is the maintenance of the system assigned to responsible persons or a sprinkler contractor?

Are approved safety cans or other acceptable containers used for handling or dispensing flammable liquids?

Do you have a lock-out/tag-out procedure?

Do you have a non-smoking rule enforced in areas involving storage and use of hazardous materials?

Is lighting adequate? Can you increase the performance and efficiency of your employees by decreasing glare or increasing the quality of light?

Are all electrical cords strung so that they do not hang on pipes, nails, or hooks?

Are fuses and circuit breakers the right type and size for the load on each circuit?

Is your electrical system checked periodically by a competent person to assure compliance with all safety equipment?

Are all exits marked with readily visible signs that are properly illuminated?

Do you take special precautions to protect employees during construction or repairs?

Are fire extinguishers mounted in readily accessible locations?

Are fire extinguishers recharged regularly and a notation made on the inspection tag?

If you have a fire alarm system, is it tested at least annually?

A store manager should also have the store heating system inspected once a year before cold weather sets in.

Not only could a fan or pump motor be the cause of a fire due to an electrical short, but if not vented properly, a heating plant leaking carbon monoxide could be deadly. One parts store team experienced this situation. The team members had been experiencing tiredness and headaches for three days. No one knew what was wrong at the time. Several people thought it might be just the flu. On the fourth day, the store manager became sick enough to go to the emergency room. There he was diagnosed as suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Everyone at the store was immediately evacuated and the furnace was inspected. It was discovered that part of the exhaust piping had come loose, allowing carbon monoxide into the store.

You’ve probably heard of similar cases involving homes, and you likely have a carbon monoxide detector in your house, but what about the store?

Safety is not a one-time project; it is ongoing. Not only is it important to the health and wellbeing of your current employees, it has a direct bearing on your ability to attract promising new ones. A safer business is a better business.


All store members should conduct a safety orientation with all new team members. Are you interested in learning more about what should be included in this orientation? Would you like to learn about additional tips for creating a safer store environment, including how to deal safely with hazardous materials in your store? The University of the Aftermarket’s “Store Safety and Hazardous Material Management” self-study course can help you find this out. The tips mentioned here are just an example of what to look for when conducting a store safety inspection and how you can improve your system. In addition to the above topic, this seminar will show the participant:

How to keep your store safe and involve your team members in making this happen.

What to do if you are facing a government inspection.

How to better manage your hazardous materials.

What you need to know about material safety data sheets (MSDS).

What are the next steps you need to take to explore the topics contained in this seminar? You can register on the University of the Aftermarket’s web page at or you may fax your order to the University at 816-523-8252 or call the University registrar at 1-800-621-UNIV. This course is a true bargain at only $49.95! (The University accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express).

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