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Car Wash Hazards. Mike Yarnell Compliance Assistant November 8, 2011. Five Categories. Self service Exterior rollover Exterior only Full service Detail shop. Self Service. Open bay having a coin-operated pressure sprayer, and sometimes a foaming brush connected to a large central pump

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Car Wash Hazards

Mike Yarnell

Compliance Assistant

November 8, 2011


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Five Categories

  • Self service

  • Exterior rollover

  • Exterior only

  • Full service

  • Detail shop


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Self Service

  • Open bay having a coin-operated pressure sprayer, and sometimes a foaming brush connected to a large central pump

  • Customer selects the option wanted, such as “soap”, "rinse" and "wax" and uses the equipment

  • Timer shuts the power off after a certain period


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Exterior rollover

  • Automated systems where the car is driven by the customer into the bay

  • Once the car is in the correct position, a signal informs the driver to stop and place the car in neutral

  • Wash equipment moves around the car on a track, performing a specific function, such as applying soap, washing or rinsing


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Exterior rollover

  • Common at gas stations, where the price is often discounted in conjunction with buying a tank of gas


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Exterior only

  • Automated system where the car is driven into the entrance of a long, tunnel-like bay

  • The front tire, usually on the driver's side, indexes into a conveyor system and the driver places the car in neutral

  • Conveyor guides the car through the bay, where it passes several pieces of equipment, each with a specific purpose


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Full service

  • Uses the same conveyor-based automated system

  • Interior is manually cleaned by attendants

  • Some exterior services, such as hand-drying and wheel-cleaning, are available


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Detail shop

  • May hand wash the car or use an automated system

  • Attendants completely clean and polish the car, normally by applying wax and using a buffer to remove the wax and polish the car

  • These shops are often able to remove dullpaint and small scratches, steam clean carpets and seats, brighten chrome, remove tar and perform a variety of other services


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Summary

  • Employees have to attend, maintain and be involved in all five types of car washes, although there may be less hazards in a self service bay or detail shop where the washing is manual

  • The following are potential hazards that may be present in all car wash categories


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Potential Chemical Hazards

  • Certain pre-soak compounds used in automated car washes are very alkaline and corrosive and may be applied manually

  • Certain highly corrosive tire shine compounds may be applied at the beginning or end of the car wash via spray nozzles


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Potential Chemical Hazards

  • Foaming agents for deep cleaning may be hazardous

  • Coatings, rinses, waxes and polish water-resistant compounds may be quite alkaline or may cause dermatitis


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Potential Chemical Hazards

  • Agents to assist the rinse process and certain waxes can be quite acidic

  • Some chrome and wheel rim cleaning chemicals contain hydrofluoric acid

  • Car washes may also have laundries to wash hand towels by using household detergents and bleach


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Airborne Chemicals

  • Mists from sprayed cleaning agents

  • Emissions from diesel and gasoline engines

    • Composed of a complex mixture of thousands of different gases, vapors, and fine particles

    • Diesel engine emissions may contain potential cancer-causing substances such as arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


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Electrocution and Mechanical Hazards

  • A rollover system and other automated systems may be controlled by a digital control system

  • This computerized system knows where the car is located, engages the wash, brush or rinse systems where required and may also automatically shut off the system when a car comes off of the conveyor to prevent a collision with the car behind it


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Exterior System Hazards

  • Hydraulic system may be used which powers all moving and rotating parts of the machine

  • Conveyor system has a chain which rotates on axles at the beginning and end of the conveyor track and has rollers that catch the car’s front wheel and propels the car through the wash tunnel at a slow speed


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Exterior System

  • Mitter curtain that moves back and forth across the car surface

  • Scrubber brushes that rotate at high velocity around the front, sides and rear of car

  • Large cylindrical brush top brush that rotates on an axle perpendicular to the car to clean / scrub the top of the car


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Exterior System

  • High pressure water tank and pump that may feed all manual and automated spray machines; jets may operate up to 1000 PSI

    • Pre-soak may be applied manually with high pressure water nozzles

    • Main wash spray foam applicator

    • Rinse / wax arches

    • Undercarriage wash applicator


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Exterior System

  • Electrical motors may operate at up to 480 volts to power the hydraulic system, the water pressure pumps, chemical feed systems and hot air dryers

  • 120 volt lighting and power outlets

  • Electrically powered water reclaim system motors

  • Manual power washers

  • Electrically powered vacuums; either individually powered or having one large vacuum canister with a powerful air pump and many hoses attached


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Slips, Trips and Falls

  • Accumulations of slippery soap, wax and other chemical solutions on floor areas


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Struck-by Hazards

  • Being struck by customer-driven or employee operated vehicles is a major hazard

  • In all operations, a struck-by hazard exists either by vehicle or mechanical equipment

  • Employees can be struck by a vehicle as it approaches or enters the bay, where it disengages from the conveyor system, where it is driven out, or where it heads to a finishing / towel drying area


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Applicable OSHA Standards

  • Employers must conduct a workplace hazard assessment

  • PPE

    • Adequate hand / eye / body protection when handling corrosive chemicals and manual spraying of treatment chemicals


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OSHA Standards

  • Lock out / Tag out

    • In-house or vendor mechanic that maintains the equipment

    • Repair, replacement or maintenance of conveyor chains, spinner brush belts or parts, motor belts or repair of electrical motors or equipment

    • Cleaning of the wash tunnel areas where there are moving machine parts


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OSHA Standards

  • In automated systems, cars can become disengaged from the conveyor system

  • In express systems, the customer may apply the brakes, causing the roller to go under the car - system may shut off automatically, but the employer should develop training and a policy to require shutoff every time this occurs

  • LO/TO would not apply to this case


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OSHA Standards

  • Chemical hazard communication

    • Chemicals can be highly corrosive

    • Strong acids (rinses / waxes)

    • Strong bases (alkaline soaps)


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OSHA Standards

  • Electrical

    • Standard automated car washs operate on 480 volt power

    • Electrical fixtures, if subject to spraying / wet areas must be approved for wet locations


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OSHA Standards

  • Egress/exits

    • Whether full or exterior service, safe egress must be maintained from one end of the tunnel to the other, or from all areas employees may work

    • Space may be limited and egress and exit use must be maintained without obstructions or locks


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OSHA Standards

  • Eye and body wash provisons

    • Read the MSDS

    • Garden hoses with regular water pressure may be used for body drenching

    • An eye wash, at a minimum, must be available to employees


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OSHA Standards

  • Slips, trips and falls

    • Along egress pathways and in other areas, water, soap and slippery chemicals can accumulate

    • Mats or rough surfacing materials can be used in problem areas

    • Cleanliness must be maintained


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OSHA Standards

  • Noise and hearing conservation

    • All machinery in a wash tunnel is inherently noisy, particularly the blowers

    • For employees stationed near blowers for an extended period of time, the employer must conduct a noise survey

    • If employees are in constant motion and do not stay in the tunnel or near blowers, overexposure is unlikely


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OSHA Standards

  • Exhaust and chemical mists

    • In an older or enclosed facility, vehicle exhaust may accumulate causing elevated exhaust component levels including carbon monoxide

    • During winter months if the tunnel uses automated doors or plastic curtains, corrosive mists may also accumulate


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OSHA Standards

  • Motor vehicle safety

    • Use cones, signage and barricades at the entry point into a car wash and at the exit point when the car is put back into drive by the operator after its released from the conveyor system

    • Motor vehicle safety guidelines available through the International Car Wash Association

    • Commercial signage is also avaialble


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OSHA Standards

  • Equipment maintenance

    • All equipment must be maintained according to manfacturer requirements

    • Equipment used while in disrepair may break and project objects causing struck-by injuries

    • The digital control system may include safety shut-off controls and devices - it must work as designed and be properly maintained


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OSHA Standards

  • The employer should establish danger zones at entry and exit points where either a customer driver or employee driver can strike a worker

  • Use of high visibility clothing is recommended


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OSHA Standards

  • Employee training

    • Adhering to all safety precautions

    • Slips and falls

    • Other safety risks that are present in the working environment such as open pits in lube bays


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OSHA Standards

  • Excessive noise especially near blowers at the car exit

  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Bursting high pressure hose in wash tunnel

  • Lock out/Tag out


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OSHA Standards

  • Potential for a car fire

  • Hazards associated with working in and around moving vehicles in a confined area

  • Moving equipment hazards within the car wash tunnel

  • Electrical shock hazards

  • Chemical hazards and hazard communication