Car detailing, on the surface, may not appear to be a risky endeavor. When compared to activities like snowboarding or mountain biking, it seems relatively safe. However, it’s essential to recognize that there are certain detailing safety considerations that every detailer should keep in mind.
Detailing tasks come with their own set of potential hazards, ranging from trip and slip risks to exposure to chemicals and dust. To maintain detailing safety, here are some precautions you should take:
1. Slip Hazards and Electrical Equipment:
One common safety concern is the presence of water during the wash stages, which can create slip hazards. Additionally, electrical equipment like halogen work lights and machine polishers should be kept well away from water sources and should only be used with circuit breakers to prevent electrical accidents.
2. Trip Hazards:
Detailers often have to contend with trip hazards caused by cables from machine polishers, pressure washers, and work lights potentially running underfoot. To mitigate this risk, it’s advisable to tape down or place these cables inside flat conduits.
3. Unique Equipment Dangers:
Specific pieces of detailing equipment may pose unique risks. For example, an ultra-hot halogen light can cause burns if touched, and orbital polishers may vibrate, potentially resulting in a loss of sensation in the fingertips if used for extended periods. Rotary polishers can entangle neck chains, long hair, or loose clothing. Be aware of these unique hazards and take necessary precautions.
4. Inhalation and Hearing Risks:
Polishing dust may be hazardous if inhaled, and the noise generated by loud machine polishers can affect your hearing. Even seemingly simple tasks like polishing the center of a car’s bonnet can result in a bad back when using heavy machine polishers. Always carefully read the instructions for each piece of equipment and take note of the safety information before use.
5. Product-Related Risks:
Detailing products can also introduce safety concerns. While individuals with sensitive skin may struggle with stronger detailing shampoos, most detailers will encounter challenges with more aggressive products like caustic traffic-film removers, acidic fallout removers, strong wheel cleaners, and potent solvents for removing tar and rubber deposits. These products can dry or irritate the skin and may cause unpleasant or even potentially dangerous situations, such as contact with the eyes or inhalation, if there’s splash-back or overspray during application.
To ensure detailing safety when working with stronger products, take sensible precautions such as applying them in a direction away from you (not into the wind) and wearing nitrile gloves. In some cases, wearing a face mask and safety glasses might also be necessary. Always read the product label for safety instructions, and if you have any doubts about a product, seek out the manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which they are legally required to provide for hazardous products, usually available online.
By following these safety guidelines and remaining vigilant during the detailing process, you can enjoy your passion for car detailing while minimizing potential risks and ensuring your well-being. Your safety is a top priority, even in the world of car detailing.