Identifying and Mitigating Hazards in the Quick Lube

car platform

When we think of changing our customers’ oil, the Final Destination movies don’t immediately come to mind. The only pain most people experience is not driving their car for roughly 15 minutes. However, in some rare circumstances, customers have been injured at the neighborhood quick lube. In this month’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at why these accidents occur and how to minimize the opportunities for injury.

“Customers are not permitted in the employee work zone.”

These words are displayed clear as day at every quick lube facility, but it is sadly not enough to prevent some injuries from happening. Most quick lube injuries result from a customer attempting to notify the staff about a quirk relating to their vehicle. While their intentions may be good, the result can be catastrophic. Always remind the customer to stay inside their vehicle or in the lobby during their oil change. One positive change our industry has endured during the pandemic is most customers remain inside their cars during their oil change.

A Quick Pit Stop

The facility operator of an oil-lube service center may believe workplace hazards are simply part of the job, and for the employee, it may be the same. Why should there be “safety upgrades” if nothing has gone wrong in recent memory? Luckily, this isn’t as common as it once used to be.

One of the most significant potential safety hazards in your quick lube is most likely the basement pit. Loose Board covers, nets with large holes, yellow tape, cones, and caution signs may not be enough, not only to be compliant but to be safe. Because of this, there are additional safety measures your location can take to prevent any workplace injuries from staff and customers.

Innovating for Safety

A simple YouTube search for “Oil Change Accident” will show you dozens of security camera footage of customers driving and falling inside the basement pit. These accidents can result in lawsuits, injury, and in some cases, can be fatal. Before the advent of YouTube, I would hear about these types of accidents through the grapevine in the industry. I knew something needed to be invented to prevent this from happening even more.

In 2000, I was awarded the patent for the “EZ-Glide” system, a series of grated metal panels that create a surface to prevent cars and people from entering the quick lube basement. They effortlessly glide to give access to the technician attending to a vehicle. The EZ-Glide system was my response to hearing about these accidents happening across the country. Twenty years later, DEVON is still custom building these in the USA for quick lube facilities across the country.

Clear for Takeoff

Earlier this year, two quick lube employees were injured when a customer getting her oil changed mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake and slammed into them. Although both employees made a full recovery, there’s a lesson to be learned here: You can never be too safe when it comes to your business. Being in our industry, we are surrounded by heavy machinery and equipment so much that we forget that not everyone is as comfortable being around this environment. Knowing this, we can be extra attentive to customers and give them clear instructions so that both parties are confident that an injury will not occur. This includes making sure employees are not in a vehicle’s path while the car is still on.

Hey Now, You’re an OSHA All-Star

If you’ve been in the industry a while, this article may not have taught you anything new. However, keeping safety at the forefront of your mind is never a bad idea. Let this serve as a friendly reminder to roam through your facility and spot any potential workplace hazards for your employees and customers. The more we mitigate these issues as an industry, the more value we can provide to customers all across the country.

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