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Operations and Management

Safety tips for carwashes

Slips and trips are common in the car care industry.


In the upcoming December issue of Professional Carwashing & Detailing, contributor Michael Rose discusses how signage can serve double duty by both marketing and ensuring safety. Safety is of paramount importance at a carwash, and in addition to setting up informative signage to protect your customers and employees, make sure your employees understand other ways to prevent injuries at your carwash.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the International Carwash Association (ICA) came together in a collaborative effort to encourage safer workplaces. OSHA and ICA formed this alliance to provide members of the professional carwash industry, including small businesses and non-English or limited English-speaking employees, information, guidance and access to training resources. This information was created to help protect employee health and safety, particularly in addressing slips, trips and falls; hazard communication; and vehicle operation safety.

According to a safety tips sheet developed by the alliance, slips and trips are common in the car care industry.1 Carwash employees work around surfaces which can be coated with detergent, soap, wax and oil and are at risk of slip, trip and fall injuries. Often, these injuries occur at job sites, but they can also occur indoors, especially when “good housekeeping” is not a high priority. Slips, trips and falls may result in broken bones, sprains, concussions or other costly and painful injuries. These injuries, however, are preventable.


What causes slip, trip and fall injuries:

  • Running on the job
  • Not being on the constant lookout for hazards
  • Poor lighting conditions, icy spots in winter, spills and electrical cords or hoses left in walkways
  • Improper footwear.

How to prevent slip, trip and fall injuries:

  • Pay close attention to conditions, and remember that wet cement can be very slick.
  • Wear proper waterproof shoes or boots that have good traction.
  • Do not run.
  • Put tools, equipment and materials back where they belong.
  • Practice good housekeeping. If you spill something, clean it up. And, if you spot a potential slipping or tripping hazard, eliminate it if possible, or bring it to your crew leader’s attention.
  • Remove ice and snow before it accumulates.
  • Clean surfaces coated in detergent, soap or wax before buildup.
  • Clean up all oil spills in an approved manner.
  • Clean up trash and debris, and put it in the proper barrels.
  • Do not leave tools around where people can trip over them.


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