Opinion: Let’s not get complacent about health and safety

GW columnist, Tony Vincent shares his 'Fred-in-the-shed' concerns as vehicles become increasingly dangerous to work on

Opinion: Let’s not get complacent about health and safety

How sad to read that a mechanic lost his life due to negligence, especially on his first day at a new work place.

GW columnist, Tony Vincent.

Good practice suggests that employers put new employees under some form of observation for at least a week to ensure they settle into the new job and, above all, are safe.

It’s not known if the correct equipment was available for this mechanic to use but observation may well have prevented his death.

We’ve all used a tool that’s not specific for the job but this really makes you think – things can go badly wrong if you’re not properly equipped or trained to do the job at hand.

If a garage is worth its salt, health and safety should be the biggest priority.


Our industry is a dangerous one, there’s no denying that but it’s all too easily forgotten when we’re doing the day-to-day job.

Health and safety guidelines are there to be followed, let’s not get complacent about that. 

Many garages will have the likes of the IMI or some other form of trade body which carries out annual assessments to ensure standards are maintained. 

Colleges also tend to ensure workshops that take on apprenticeships are compliant with the appropriate regulations.

Related: Northern Ireland’s Driver and Vehicle Agency faces heavy criticism for MOT lift failures

It’s the ‘Fred-in-the-shed’ garages that repair two or three vehicles a day that really worries me. 

These garages can’t or don’t invest in the latest training and equipment and that can only mean that jobs on today’s cars are getting inaccurately diagnosed by them.

We’ve started to see hybrid and electric vehicles in our workshop so we’ve done our bit to keep up with technology and stay safe while working on them.

There’s no doubt these vehicles are becoming more commonplace but what happens when one ends up in a ‘Fred-in-the-shed’ workshop?

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