The life of a mechanic is complex, filled with expensive cars, strict procedures, and various hazards. As an auto repair shop owner, you are also responsible for protecting your equipment, customers, and staff. In order to keep up with these demands, it’s crucial to understand the key layers and risks of auto repair shop security.
While theft and property damage are important, safety is the most critical aspect of your shop’s security. From mechanical procedures to your emergency equipment, safety is ingrained in nearly every layer of the auto repair process.
Training and Safety Equipment
Mandatory safety training helps all mechanics stay on the same page, even if they’ve had previous safety training with another employer. As you implement a comprehensive training strategy, consider posting your safety procedures around the garage and hosting semi-annual safety refreshers. In doing so, you can ensure everyone understands their responsibilities and best practices.
Additionally, every employee should know the location of personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to use it. These safety essentials protect mechanics during specific operations and help them respond to emergencies. Types of auto repair PPE include:
- Foot protection
- Goggles and safety glasses
- Face shields
- Hard hats
- Ear protection
- First-aid kits
- Electrical equipment
While every team member must know how to respond to emergencies, the most significant safety concerns often lie in your shop’s day-to-day. The equipment, tools, and vehicles that mechanics work with can be dangerous and require focus and frequent maintenance. Even your garage’s windows and countless other factors can negatively affect your employees’ health.
As such, it’s crucial to understand the most significant factors in your auto repair safety, including:
- Maintenance: Frequent maintenance of your garage’s auto repair equipment will help you identify defective gear and tools that need to be replaced. Regularly test your larger equipment, especially hydraulic lifts, and keep records after each inspection. Additionally, you should check your operation’s smaller components, such as electrical cords, power tools, and inventories.
- Ventilation: Gasoline, exhaust, and other hazardous fumes can cause long-term and immediate health concerns for anyone on your property. It’s critical to install thorough ventilation in the repair garage and anywhere hazardous substances are stored. Additionally, for maximized airflow, you should encourage your team to use fans and windows whenever operating equipment.
- Fall protection: It’s essential to have safety measures to protect staff from harm caused by equipment that can fall, such as auto lifts. Examples include guard rails, safety netting, inspection pits, extra supports, and hard hats.
Theft, vandalism, and break-ins are just a few criminal concerns facing small and medium-sized businesses, especially those with valuable inventories. Unfortunately, auto garages are often top targets because of their vehicles, parts, and cash boxes. It’s crucial to form a thorough security plan to help you reduce criminal activity and defend your business.
A significant aspect of auto repair security is establishing a perimeter. Install multiple surveillance cameras at various spots around your garage’s entry points and your storage lot, regardless of its size. Take extra time to consider your cameras’ ranges of view, blind spots, and limitations to ensure no activity can go unnoticed. This way, with 24/7 monitoring, you and your security team can catch all suspicious activity and respond immediately.
Internal vs. External Theft
External theft includes anything stolen by customers, trespassers, and everyone else not within your company. For auto repair shops, this type of theft ranges from people stealing individual parts to driving off without paying. Additionally, some criminals may target the belongings in customers’ cars, which can cause a serious legal headache for your business.
On the other hand, internal theft comprises criminal activity performed by your shop’s staff, including leadership. These incidents can include stolen equipment, wage theft, negligent repairs, and even grand theft auto. Furthermore, depending on your state laws, you may be required to return removed parts to their owners. Even if customers don’t care about their broken parts, not following these laws could be considered theft and lead to legal issues.
Installing thorough loss control strategies inside and outside your auto garage will help limit security concerns and keep your team accountable. So, if a trespasser attempts to steal their engine part or an employee uses improper equipment, you can record the incident and respond as needed. Security footage is especially crucial for tracking identities and lost equipment.
Cash and Equipment Storage
Valuable parts and tools are often the top targets in auto repair shop break-ins. It’s crucial to have a secure storage process for your inventory and cash. By using stronger locks, door contacts, and glass break sensors, you can detect criminals, scare them off, or at least slow them down while you call the police. Furthermore, by checking your inventory regularly, you can track missing equipment faster by narrowing down the timeline of their last use.
Depending on the size of your facility, you may also consider access control locks with key cards and pin codes. These security measures restrict access to specific entry points with varying levels of access based on employees’ roles. For instance, while every staff member can open the shop in the morning, only managers and senior mechanics can unlock storage rooms.
Property Damage Prevention
From upset clients to vehicle fires, countless factors can contribute to property damage and other safety concerns. Because you can’t plan for just one incident, the best safety solution is often to invest in comprehensive security and fire prevention measures.
Surveillance cameras in particular can reduce break-ins by capturing identities and scaring criminals away. Furthermore, comprehensive alarm systems let you immediately respond to trespassers, fires, and other emergencies to reduce their impacts.
Some of the most common types of property damage in auto repair shops include:
- Vehicular-related damage from customers, clients, and staff
- Accident-related damage from operations and equipment malfunctions
- Criminal-related damage, including vandalism and break-ins
- Fire damage from faulty vehicles and equipment
Premises and Operations Liability
Auto repair shops face numerous liability concerns, from the safety of customers to their cars, that demand security measures to be enacted. Additionally, some state laws and insurance policies may mandate specific safety and operational protocols, depending on your location.
Thorough auto repair shop alarm systems will help your operations and premises liability across the board. First, your setup will fill your legal checklists and improve your trust with customers just by having security devices visible. Plus, cameras in your repair garage will keep your staff accountable and validate your safe operations to insurance providers.
Second, surveillance footage can benefit you in responding to criminal incidents, such as identifying thieves or pressing charges. Stored videos are also crucial after accidents or injuries, letting you precisely observe the incident to take action or defend your business accordingly.
Finally, your garage’s surveillance footage benefits your completed operations liability by verifying the work performed. This way, if a customer complains that their vehicle wasn’t repaired properly, you can use your recorded footage to defend your employees.
Consider implementing the following safety and liability practices:
- Post signage around your facility, including safety instructions and “employees only” signs.
- Place hazard tape and floor markings around hydraulic lifts and other machinery.
- Maintain comprehensive records of all transactions, operations, and accidents.
- Train all staff on safety operations and procedures.
- Practice pausing operations when someone enters the workspace.
- Implement professional monitoring and push notifications for around-the-clock security of customers’ vehicles.
Upgrade Your Auto Repair Shop Security
Your auto repair shop’s security is important for your employees’ health, customers’ vehicles, and business’s longevity. Investing in 24/7 monitoring and security will protect you long term and even help your peace of mind by ensuring someone always has eyes on your garage. Request a quote from Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. today to learn how we can customize your security setup.
About Alarm Detection Systems, Inc.
Alarm Detection Systems is one of the largest alarm firms in the country. Family-owned since 1968, we provide business alarms, fire alarms, card access, security cameras, and home security systems. Proudly servicing Chicagoland, Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana, and Southern Wisconsin in the Midwest. Call us at 630.844.6300 for more information.