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Health and safety blitz on vehicle repairers

Unsafe garages and bodyshops could be forced to close their doors after health and safety officers announced they are considering a nationwide blitz on vehicle service and repair businesses.

The move comes after a wave of more than 300 inspections in London in the areas of Brent, Camden, Harlow and Harrow with officers visiting up to 40 automotive operations a day.

“Following the success of the London-based scheme, there is a possibility that inspections on motor vehicle repairers will be launched countrywide,” says a spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive.

Notices were issued in London after teams found risks to bodyshop staff spraying isocynate-containing paints or garages using defective pressure washers and steam cleaners. Mike Gibb, principal inspector with the Executive's field operations directorate in London, is disappointed that business do not take effective action to protect their employees from the potentially harmful effects of such chemicals.

“These materials are potent respiratory sensitisers. Spraying should only be carried out in properly designed booths by trained people,” says Gibb. Other notices dealt with the lack of edge protection for mezzanine floors, poor toilet facilities and inadequate rest and washing facilities for workshop staff.

A free motor vehicle repair safety awareness event was held at the College of North West London in May where more than 30 vehicle repairers and bodyshop managers heard HSE presentations on fire and explosive risks, equipment and electrical safety, and manual handling.

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