When thinking about safety practices for businesses like tire retreaders, tire dealers, and auto dealers, there are a number of things that come to mind, ranging from liability protection to fire prevention methods. But when you think of tire business safety, housekeeping may not be a word that pops into your head. However, just like other industries, having some general housekeeping practices in place can mean the difference between a smooth-running business and a major loss that sets your business back.

Housekeeping is especially important now, as both the number of claims from tire businesses and the severity of those claims have increased between 2017 and 2018, according to Federated Insurance’s internal claims data. Over the same respective time periods in 2017 and 2018, the total value of losses jumped from approximately $126,000 to approximately $1,377,000.

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Taking the time to perform some essential checks and clean-up practices can be more than worth it in the long run. Here are some tire business safety tips:

General housekeeping

Housekeeping is an important part of any tire business’ safety plan. It helps make your business more appealing to customers to ensure repeat business, helps control the spread of fires, aids in the maintenance and upkeep of the building, and helps limit slips, trips, and falls for both employees and customers.

Over the same respective time periods in 2017 and 2018, the total value of losses for tire businesses jumped from approximately $126,000 to approximately $1,377,000.

There are many slip, trip, and fall hazards that can cause injury to employees and customers, including uneven surfaces, holes, changes in surface heights, substances on the floor (ranging from liquids to mud or ice), frayed or curled carpets or runners, weeds, or garbage. To reduce some of these risks, your business’ lot should be well maintained, and weeds and garbage should be cleaned up on a regular basis. Oil and grease on the floor are a common risk. To help reduce or control this issue, all spills should be attended to promptly using some type of absorbent. Signage should be put up to warn about the spill, and you should dispose of the fluids properly.

To further ensure nobody suffers an injury, tire warehouses and other tire businesses need to control their inventory during peak seasons and make sure that their aisles are kept clear. This also helps control the spread of fire, should one break out.

Tire dust and particle inspection

Tire dust and particles are created when buffing the casing of a tire to prepare it for retreading. Some dust and particles will accumulate in the work area, but the majority will be extracted by a cyclone system – a machine that uses vortex separation to remove particles from an air, gas, or liquid stream without the use of filters – and stored outside the building.

Tire dust and particles can be dangerous, as fires and explosions are more likely if there’s a large amount of dust in the air or on the ground. Therefore, it’s important that rubber dust is kept in a contained storage area and that your building is cleaned regularly, as well as areas around any cyclone or storage units outside.

Work station interiors should be cleaned daily, while exterior checks around the dust collectors and vacuum units should occur weekly. Your specific equipment would also outline a recommended cleaning and maintenance schedule that should be followed closely.

Newer and larger cyclone systems will have a sprinkler system and fire and explosion safety built into them, because it’s important that the fire or explosion doesn’t blow back into the building. The potentially fatal danger means these safety features should be inspected as often as the manufacturer suggests.

Waste and scrap containers or tires

You may not think about it, but once you’re done with a lot of the materials used in a tire business, keeping them on site and not properly stored can be a hazard. Here are some of the precautions that should be taken:

  • Waste containers:

Waste containers for garbage, recyclables, and used oil should be kept at the outside rear of the building and placed away from the exterior wall of the building. If this isn’t possible, regular pickups should be scheduled.

This step is important, because if the containers were to be set on fire while located close to the building or inventory, the resulting damage could be extensive. Containers should be locked and secured, and a security system with cameras should also be installed, if possible. A fence with gates can offer another degree of protection, and a professional-grade padlock should be used. These steps, along with regular pickups, are important to deter any possible acts of arson or vandalism.

  • Waste or scrap tires:

If not handled properly, waste or scrap tires can be stolen and used by someone else, potentially causing damage or injury. A third party could also add their own waste or scrap tires to your collection, which means the cost of having the extra tires removed falls on you. Finally, too many tires on the lot can be a fire hazard.

To mitigate these risks, waste or scrap tires should be stored in a specific area or trailer that is 50 feet (15 m) away from your business’ building. The location of these tires should be secured with either a fence or security system, and tires should also be picked up and recycled on a regular basis. The frequency of tire recycling will depend on the size and volume of the business.

Outside storage

To keep any tire business safe, outside storage also needs to be taken into consideration. Pallets, tires, and combustibles should be stored away from the building. Combustibles need to be a minimum of 25 feet (7.6 m) from the building, while tires need to be a minimum of 50 feet (15.2 m) away from the building.

Want to learn more?

Housekeeping isn’t the only concern a tire business owner needs to be aware of. There are a number of risks that need to be safeguarded against and best practices that should be employed.

Tire magazine linking to whitepaper download about risks faced by tire trade owners

Do you want to learn more about the risks tire businesses face and the appropriate steps to take against them?

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Business Insurance!

Tire business safety measures are vital but sometimes the necessary precautions aren’t enough. Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong quickly, and if that does happen, it’s important to have a safety net in place. That’s where business insurance comes in. To find out how Federated can help your business, visit our business insurance page today!

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.