Group Editorial Director/Editor in Chief Rich DiPaolo discusses the importance of safeguarding car care employees’ hands in the April feature, “Protect the hands that pay you.”

“As a manager, you probably ponder about different strategies to improve productivity, results, morale and the always critical bottom line,” says DiPaolo in the article. “While training employees with innovative equipment and implementing market knowledge are important, protecting their safety should be among your top priorities in order to elevate your staff’s performance. Particularly, hand care is an often overlooked area of employee safety.”

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the result of employees using repetitive motions over a prolonged period of time, continues DiPaolo in the article, and the health issues often reported by workers range from minor discomfort, aches and pains to more serious medical conditions which require time off from work and medical treatment.

“In more serious cases, treatment and recovery were not effective, resulting in permanent disability, loss of employment opportunities and overall setbacks in their quality of life,” he adds in the article.

Carwash workers may be at risk for hand-related injuries and problems, notes DiPaolo in the article, because of these four common factors:

  • Manual handling: lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying and holding. Tasks that require these actions can include moving and transporting heavy equipment; everyday machines, such as vacuums; and loads, such as laundry.
  • Awkward hand positions: contorting hand posture to abnormal positions to clean hard-to-reach areas or slanted surfaces, such as windows. This would also include risks associated with using older or cheap spray bottles or equipment handles.
  • Pressure: pressing down or applying extra pressure to remove dirt or soil. Consider more powerful cleaning products or equipment if workers are using too much elbow grease to get the job done.
  • Vibrating equipment: losing control and constant shaking. Machines that vibrate too much can cause hand fatigue, increasing the chances of workers losing control of the equipment.

“Additionally, safety guards and features for larger equipment should also be standard. With handles and grips, make sure the equipment conforms to your workers’ hands and not the other way around,” explains DiPaolo in the article. “Employees’ hands must maintain strong, healthy tendons and muscles, and managers must listen for and rectify any complaints in a timely fashion. It will make the difference in customer satisfaction when manual labor is called for.”

Read more on why you should be concerned about the health of your employees’ hands here.