Move cars off the lot faster than you can drive them
Working at a car dealership brings with it a fair amount of liability. Use these dealership safety checklists to make sure you’re protected.
No matter which department you work in, be it sales, service, or somewhere else, working at a car dealership can be a risky endeavor. That may sound overstated, but the reality is that if employees don’t follow proper dealership safety procedures, they put themselves, as well as customers, at risk.
Imagine, for example, that you work at a toy store. Apart from slip & fall accidents and a few basic rules on how to stock and stack, there’s little risk to the employee or the consumer.
Dealership safety, however, is much more complex. With moving inventory and a working garage, the slightest misstep could result in a faulty part or practice, and possibly severe consequences.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep a checklist of the various dealership safety protocols you have in place, and to go through it on a regular basis to make sure all procedures are being followed.
Know the risks
Before you can make a practical checklist, you have to know the basic risks that come with working at a car dealership. For example, an accident on the lot may result in damage to property or physical harm. Stray tools may lead to a slip and fall issue.
Those who work in the service department are even more at risk. Cars need to be positioned properly on lifts and jacks, electrical cords need to be functional and intact, oil and grease needs to be stored correctly, and mechanics need to pay attention to protective gear.
Even salespeople have to be mindful of dealership safety when they are bringing customers around a lot, handling paperwork inside, or moving vehicles or other equipment.
While customers generally shouldn’t spend much time in service areas or around moving vehicles (unless they’re test driving them), dealership safety applies to them as well. Besides the fact that you don’t want anyone to get hurt, a customer might file a suit and generate bad publicity for a business that fails to follow proper safety procedures.
Ensure customer safety by keeping them out of garage work zones, keep the premises clean and free of obstacles that may cause accidents, and make sure they take appropriate precautions when test driving.
Most car dealerships have someone in charge of ensuring safety. That person may be the operations manager, a field manager, or even a general manager, depending on how small the operation is. Learning who is responsible for dealership safety oversight is a huge step in taking care of yourself and your coworkers.
However, just because someone is in charge of safety doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to it yourself. Sometimes they only review safety policies once in a while, and you want to make sure that if anything changes at your dealership, your safety oversight person or committee has a safety plan in place.
To help get you started making your own dealership safety checklists, here are two you can use: one that addresses the dealership employees and one that addresses customers. Remember these aren’t complete checklists, but they cover the basics you’ll likely find at any dealership. In all cases, make sure you have appropriate insurance to cover any accidents that may occur.
- Ensure that all walking surfaces, including lot, offices, service area, etc. are free from debris, tools, litter, and other potential obstacles that could cause a fall.
- Coil and tie all hoses and cords when not in use and especially at the end of the day.
- Replace tools in properly labeled storage units when not in use. Never leave tools lying around in the service area or anywhere else.
- Employees must wear appropriate footwear, which usually means closed-toed shoes (even in the office) and sturdy work shoes for service employees.
- Make sure all areas of increased danger are clearly labeled.
- Inspect all equipment and tools prior to each use, and always use the proper instrument for a given job. Maintain safety logs in case of an accident.
- Make sure all tools are clean and that electrical equipment is properly grounded before use.
- Always wear appropriate protective equipment, including seatbelts when operating a company vehicle.
- Maintain and inspect lift systems as well as protective components on equipment.
- Always drive the speed limit.
- Make sure all fire safety labels and equipment are in place at all times. Have fire extinguishers inspected or replaced twice a year.
- Make sure all walkways are free from tools, trash, ice, and other trip-and-fall hazards.
- Make sure a sales rep is in the car with a customer at all times during a test drive.
- Ensure that dangerous and restricted areas are properly labeled and locked.
- Keep customers out of service area whenever possible.
- Keep a separate parking lot for customer vehicles to reduce the likelihood of a collision.
- Never sell a faulty part or vehicle to a customer, even if they are fully aware of the defect.
- Require customers to wear seat-belts and drive the speed limit during test drives.
- Whenever showing a customer something under the hood, ensure the engine is turned off, and the key is out of the ignition.
- Always use the parking brake on lot vehicles to avoid potential accidents.
Dealership safety isn’t difficult, but it can help you stay on top of your game.
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