Lose Weight and Reduce Your Back Injuries

The life of car mechanics can be hard at times. The work is physically demanding and moreover, minor burns, cuts and bruises are almost an inevitable part of a car mechanic’s daily working life. However, the payment of mechanics is good and after you manage and diagnose the nagging problems related to the work, the satisfaction will be abundant. Apart from avoiding the minor cuts, bruises and burns, as a mechanic, you should also start seeking weight reduction service. By remaining fit, you will be able to avoid back injuries which many car mechanics experience.

Your back consists of muscles, bones and some other tissues which extend from the pelvis. Back injuries mostly result from work around the house or in the car repair shop, sports injuries or sudden jolts such as vehicle accident. The most common site of back injuries is the lower back and the most common types of back injuries include herniated discs, sprains and strains and fractured vertebrae. The three types of injuries cause pain and also limit your movements.

Treatment of back injuries highly varies and may include bed rest, icing, medicines, surgery or physical therapy. You can be able to prevent back injuries by maintaining a healthier weight, using your legs to lift objects and using your lower back support when sitting. To reduce the extra pounds you can also rely on weight reduction service.

X-ray shows back and neck injury

The lower back injury in vehicle repair shops

Back injuries can develop gradually due to microtrauma brought about by the repetitive activities over time or can result from a single traumatic event. Due to the slow and progressive onset of internal injuries, people highly ignore this conditions until the symptoms become acute – can even result to disabling injuries. Acute back injuries may be an immediate result of improper weight lifting techniques and lifting weights that are too heavy for your back to support.

While back injuries may seem to result from one well defined incident, the real cause is usually a combined interaction of observed stressor matched with several years of musculoskeletal support mechanism weakening by the repetitive micro trauma. Injuries may result in the vertebrae, muscle ligament and discs either in combination or singly.

Even though back injuries do not cause work related deaths, they highly contribute to human suffering, economic burden and loss of productivity on the compensation systems. Back injuries are a major cause of injuries in individuals while still in their working ages.

Moreover, back injuries affect over 600,000 workers annually and cost the US government over $50 billion annually. The economic impact and frequency of back injuries and disorders on work force may increase in the next few decades as the medical expenses increases and the average workforce age increases.


Why you should lose weight to avoid back injuries

The risk of back injuries is higher in overweight and obese people. Even though there are minimal studies on causes of back injuries, strain is known to be the most common cause. Anytime you experience back pain, you should know that it is likely to be a sprained ligament, a disc problem or even a muscle tear. Overweight people have poor posture and the extra weight puts more strain on their body muscles and discs.

Reducing weight will help you lower the chances of developing any back injuries in the future. Being overweight particularly around the midsections, shifts your total center of gravity forward and also puts additional strain n the back muscles. To avoid getting any unnecessary back injuries, you should try to remain within 10lbs of your optimal weight. To maintain this weight, you should exercise or seek medical weight reduction services. The right diet and exercise will help you maintain an optimal weight which is the first step in preventing back injuries in the car repair shop.

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Carbon Monoxide

Hearing loss and carbon monoxide written by: Edanny Mechanics exposed to noises louder than 90 decibels along with carbon monoxide experiences a more severe form of hearing loss. Occupational deafness also known as noise induced hearing is the deterioration of a persons hearing over a long period of time due to the working environment. In many countries, workers are usually at a higher risk of industrial deafness particularly those working in car repair shops, ship building, and coal mining.

Carbon monoxide’s effects on hearing

Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is a common cause of hearing loss in the vehicle repair shops. The poisoning can cause unilateral, bilateral, reversible or irreversible hearing loss after the chronic or acute exposure alongside high noise levels. Carbon monoxide is a colorless gas which is also a common mortality cause if a person is highly exposed to it.

It is usually a byproduct of incomplete hydrocarbons combustion. Inadequate ventilation is the leading second source of CO exposure after smoking. The affinity of carbon monoxide for hemoglobin is 200x that of oxygen. The bonding of hemoglobin with CO causes the production of Carboxyhemoglobin which lowers the blood oxygen carrying capacity, shifts hemoglobin dissociation curve leftwards and competes with oxygen at heme binding sites. Exposure to CO can also cause inflammation through some mechanisms independent of hypoxia and this can cause cardiac and neurologic injuries.

carbon monoxide hearing loss protection

There are no specific symptoms of CO poisoning. Acute mild CO exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, myalgia, and neurologic disturbances while heavier exposure to this gas can lead to myocardinal infraction, retinal hemorrhage, consciousness loss, coma or even death. After the CO poisoning, a person may experience some neurologic sequel such as peripheral neuropathy, motor disturbances and hearing loss. Chronic exposure can produce some different symptoms which include memory loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is one of complications which result from chronic or acute CO exposure.

What shows you are likely to develop hearing loss?

Each and every year around 22 million US employees encounter noise exposures which can cause hearing loss. In addition to hearing loss and some other hearing disorders, any prolonged exposure to noise may increase the risk of cardiovascular healthy, affect the quality of your life, and highly cost the entire society.

Occupational hearing loss results from prolonged exposure to high noise levels, that is noise levels beyond 90 decibels are said to be quite hazardous to hearing. Anytime you find yourself raising your voice to communicate with a person a length of an arm away, you should know that the noises are loud enough to damage your hearing. Another way of estimating the noise levels would be to use a smartphone sound level meter app. The factors that influence your risk of exposure include:

• Noise level: people experiencing higher noise levels are at a higher risk of developing hearing loss.

• The duration exposure: noises that last for longer periods are more hazardous than those that last for a short period.

• Impulsiveness: noises with abrupt starts and stops including hammering, fireworks and gunfire are more dangerous than the noises of same level that are constant.

• Intermittency: relatively quiet periods between noise exposures will allow the ear to rest and therefore reduce hearing loss risk.

• Carbon monoxide also highly increases the risk of hearing loss.

All mechanics aren’t equally vulnerable to noise induced hearing loss. Biological factors such as age, gender, ethnicity/race, health issues and genetics influence the workers susceptibility to the noise effects. Your ear won’t experience pain in a similar way the other body parts do. If your ear feels full or stuffy, they may be telling you that you have potentially harmed them. Roaring or ringing inside your ears may indicate a serious noise exposure that can lead to permanent damage or even hearing loss if continued.
Noise induced hearing loss prevention

National institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests preventing the hazardous noise exposure through noise exposure controls and encouraging the employers to buy the quiet programs as a first step.

And even though control or removal of the hazardous noise from a workplace is the most ideal solution, where eliminating dangerous noise exposure is hard, mechanics should use hearing protectors.

The main danger about carbon monoxide is that it is colorless and therefore detecting it can be hard. It is tasteless and odorless and therefore doesn’t give its victims any advance warning. The internal combustion engines are the primary source of this gas particularly if they aren’t properly maintained. People at higher risks are those working in enclosed areas which include vehicle repair shops. The best way to control this gas is to provide adequate ventilation in the work environment.

Staying Healthy During the Cold and Flu Season

For most people cold and flu seasons mean lesser time outdoors in fresh air and spending more time in close quarters with those they play, work, learn and live with. This forms a better opportunity for the flu and cold viruses to form a better way from one person to the other. Even though everyone will try to stay healthy, individuals with chronic conditions and endangered immune systems should take extra measures to avoid the illnesses. Flu and common cold outbreaks affect most people and costs many businesses billions of dollars annually. Car repair shops aren’t an exception and therefore employers should work to reduce the effects of the two common ailments.

Cold and flu can flourish in the workplace environments because of how the viruses are spread. These viruses are mostly spread from the respiratory droplets which can travel at least three feet from the sneezer or the cougher. Breathing in the droplets or even touching something that has these viruses on it such as a doorknob or a phone and then touching the mouth, the eyes or the nose can cause an infection. Employees working in work environments with many workers are at a higher risk of getting into contact with these viruses through the air in shared surfaces.

What are the major impacts of cold and flu in a car repair shop

There are several reasons why people are obliged to go to the workplace. A national survey showed that around 60% of all workers go to work due to concern about their work not getting done while 48% of workers go to work due to guilt of missing work. Another 25% go to work because there are no paid sick days and the survey showed that 24% of workers fear that their employers will be angry. Another 18% is usually concerned about the work loss. Even though absenteeism may be a better choice when a person is sick, there are employees who choose to come to work while they cannot function at their normal level.

This lowers the productivity and may also extend the illness and infect the other workers. Limiting the exposure to the other workers while contagious is important. An adult can pass flu to the others within a day and it may take seven days before the symptoms are seen. But unfortunately, most employees will return to their workplaces while they are still infectious.

Around 1.5 million workdays are lost each and every year and this result to lost productivity and increased healthcare costs which sum up to around $1 billion per year. An infected person remains contagious for seven days after the symptoms have appeared and this means that flu and cold can quickly and easily spread within the workplace.

clean healthy mechanic garage

Cold and flu prevention in a car repair shop

To prevent cold and flu in a car repair shop, you should use products that deflect germs. Some of the products that can help mechanics eliminate germs in the workplace include tissues, hand sanitizers and disinfectants. Workers can also aid in keeping the workplace clean. As an employer, you should make the products readily available in the workplace.

Furthermore you should advise employees to stay at home while sick. Their presence in work at such time isn’t necessary as it will only put the other workers at a risk. A sick employee should stay home for at least 24 hours and report back to work after they are not showing any symptom. You can develop a work policy which allows employees to remain home if they or their children fall ill.

Good hygiene in the car repair shop is also vital. You should institute the cleaning of shared equipments which include the computers and phones and wiping down the common areas with disinfectants from time to time. Also remind employees on the benefits of washing their hands and covering their mouth whenever they are coughing or sneezing. To reduce the spread of germs, you should encourage them to sneeze into their sleeve rather than their hands.

auto mechanic cleaning healthy garage

Exercising for around 30 minutes in a day will increase your blood flow and therefore boost your immune system. Furthermore, maintaining a healthier diet which includes vegetables and fruits is important. The food items are packaged with antioxidants and vitamins which provide the immune system and the entire body with the power it requires to fight off any germs. Half of your meals should be vegetables and fruits. However, if you are really worried about getting sick, you should get a high dose vitamin C. The vitamin offer benefits to people at a greater risk of cold and flu due o high exposure.

Brake Drums and Asbestos Dust

A more recent study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental health showed that automobile mechanics and the car service technicians are at a higher risk of developing mesothelioma, which is a serious cancer that is caused by high exposure of asbestos dust. Malignant mesothelioma cancer develops in chest cavity lining.

To observe the symptoms of mesothelioma and the asbestos related disease, a person may take around 20 years. Therefore, the symptoms may appear when they are already in their 50s. A person who worked as a car service technician in the 1960s may have recently started experiencing the symptoms or even diagnosed with mesothelioma.

brake pads mechanic asbestos poisoning 01
The symptoms of this serious cancer may mirror other types of lung related diseases. They can be different depending on the cancer type. The earlier signs are slight and someone may mistake them to be normal pains and aches. This makes it hard to detect this form of cancer.

Drum brakes containing asbestos

Drum brake is the oldest type of automotive brake and dates back to around 1900. And unlike the highly used disc brakes that involves a metal plate clutched between a pair of calipers just like bicycle’s brakes, the drum brakes are circular and have linings on their inner surface. After the driver applies the brake, the system forces a hydraulic fluid through a cylinder. This causes the brake shoes to expand against the drum’s inner lining.

Until 1980s, asbestos was the primary ingredient in the drum brakes lining before the brake manufacturers started switching to other safer materials. Since telling whether the brake lining contains asbestos by just looking at it is hard, people working in an automotive repair facility particularly brake workers are usually at risk of inhaling asbestos from the brake products containing it. The shade free mechanics and the people doing the repair work on their own should also be aware of the risks associated with asbestos dust from the drum brakes lining.

The hazards of asbestos dust

As the asbestos brakes wear down through the normal automotive use, they start releasing out asbestos containing dust to the outside environments. Much of the dust is also trapped within the brake housing and later released after the replacement or the repair work is done. Vacuuming the brake residue with a home or a regular shop vacuum will increase the risk of asbestos dust spread. Cleaning the brake drum with a compressed air hose may release hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibers in the air surrounding a mechanics face. Furthermore, using a hammer to hit the brake drum can also release asbestos dust.

In addition to being at a higher risk of inhaling asbestos dust, mechanics can get this dust on their hands during the repair work and swallow some small particles when eating. Moreover, when the dust is released into the air, it will linger within the repair shop and customers and mechanics may also breathe it. The mechanics may also carry some of the asbestos dust home with their clothes therefore putting their families at a threat.

Reducing the risks associated with asbestos dust from drum brakes

According to the USA government regulations, any auto repair shop that does at least five brakes jobs in a year should use special equipments to minimize asbestos exposure. One method of preventing asbestos spread involves a transparent enclosure around the vehicle’s brake system and proper cleaning with a vacuum.

best respirator for mechanic asbestos brake ds

The vacuum should have High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter. Another procedure involves use of lower pressure spray equipment to wet down the brake system and then the mechanic collects the runoff in a basin. Vehicle mechanics should also remember to dispose off asbestos brakes in sealed and labeled impermeable containers.

The home auto mechanics particularly those who work with asbestos brakes are also at a greater risk of inhaling asbestos dust. The fact that they don’t have equipments found in the auto repair shops may intensify the problem. Therefore, this mechanics should avoid using compressed air when cleaning brakes to prevent asbestos release into the air. The mechanics should also use pre-ground ready to install parts when possible.

While most vehicle brake systems in the newer vehicle models do not contain asbestos, there are some brake pads and shoes that contain asbestos. This is according to US Environmental Protection Agency. A mechanic cannot know whether brakes contain asbestos by just looking at them. And if the brake contains Asbestos then the dust will also contain asbestos. As a mechanic, you should always assume that all brakes have asbestos type shoes and use asbestos dust control procedures.

Personal Protective Equipment for the Mechanic

osha guidelines for eye protection at repair garages
Even though eye injuries are seen as the threat for a long time in garages that require safety glasses, today they are minimal. When working on a vehicle there are many things that can go wrong and most of them will possibly hurt you.

Eye injuries are the most common mishap in this business since garages are always full of sparks that fly from airborne metal pieces launched from the bench grinders and from cutting torches. However, most mechanics will not rely on anything else apart from their eyelids for protection. There are people who protect their eyes by closing them when welding.

Since lots of injuries will involve eyes, the solution is very simple: mechanics should wear goggles when working in a garage. The main reason they should wear goggles throughout is that eye injuries are very hard to predict.

ppe for car repair shops and auto mechanicsWhy you should start protecting your eyes today

Each and every day, around 1000, injuries occur in the American workplaces. Financial costs related to these injuries are also high – around $300 million annually in medical expenses, production time and the workers compensation. No dollar figure will fully reflect the personal cost these accidents take on injured workers.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and 25 other states which operate their own health and job safety programs should help minimize eye injuries. You should also take time to think about the possible eye injuries at your workplace.

What are the contributing factors of eye injuries at workplaces?

• Working without eye protection: BLS report indicates that around 60% of all eye injuries are reported on workers who do not wear eye protection during the the time of accident occurrence.

• Wearing the wrong type of protection while at the place of work: Around 40% of the injured employees are usually wearing some kind of eye protection before accident occurence. Most likely, the workers are usually wearing eye-glasses without side shields, even though injuries which occur among workers wearing flat-fold side and full cup shields.

What are the major causes of eye injuries at the workplace?

• Flying particles

BLS states that around 70% of all eye injuries result from flying particles. Other major causes of these accidents include sparks or falling objects which strike the eye. Most injured workers estimate that around 60% of the objects are usually smaller than the pin head. The objects are also usually flying faster than a hand thrown object when these accidents occur.

• Contact with chemicals

This is another common cause of injuries in garages. Injuries resulting from the contact with chemicals account for 10% of all injuries. Some other accidents may result from objects swinging from attached or fixed positions such as ropes, tree limbs, tools or chains which are pulled into the eyes while in use.

Eye accidents prevention

Protecting your eyes is a simple task and involves wearing protection when working in a garage. According to the OSHA standards, employers should offer their workers with the suitable eye protection. For any eye protection to be effective, it should be properly fitted and also be of the appropriate type for the hazard protected. A quick example: BLS survey shows that around 94% of all eye injuries to workers result from chemicals or objects going under or around the eye protector. The eye protector should also allow air circulation around the eyes and the lenses. The workers who report breakage when wearing eye protection are very few.

According to statistics, around a fifth of all people injured are usually wearing welding helmets / face shields and only 6% of the injured employees had goggles at the time of injury. Goggles offer better eye protection but to enhance the eye protection, workers should wear them with face shields.

Furthermore, employers should properly educate their workers on eye protection. BLS reports that most workers are injured while preforming their regular duties. Most workers injured without goggles say that they thought that the situation did not require them. Although most employers vanish eye protection without any extra cost to the employees, around 40% of the employees receive no proper information on either where or the type of eye protection they should wear.

The eye protection devices maintenance

As a mechanic, you should maintain your eye protection devices. And because dirty and scratched eye devices reduce vision and cause glare, you should highly avoid them since they can contribute to accidents. Over 90% of all eye injuries are preventable. Start wearing the right eyewear today to protect yourself from the injuries.