We’ve all heard the song “Car Wash,” and have likely taken our cars for a spin through one, but what would happen if your car wash took you for a spin? That’s exactly what happened to Josh Hood, the manager of Pitstop Carwash in Slidell, Louisiana, and it was all caught on tape. Within a car wash, just like in any workplace, we don’t think accidents are likely to happen—until they do. Safety is an issue we often neglect, but this video brought it to our attention, and it’s sure to catch yours.
This car wash accident can teach us all a lesson or two about how to improve safety in our own car washes. Caught by surprise, Josh Hood got wrapped up in a hose and stuck on one of the wash’s rotating brushes. The hose repeatedly wrapped around Hood, tying him to one of the brushes as he spun around. Luckily, the hose never ran out, so he wasn’t squeezed too tight within its grasp, although the terrifying experience left a mark on his memory. Even after spending time in the military, Hood described his car wash ride as one of his scariest experiences. Luckily for Hood, he (and his equipment) came out unscathed. The car wash accident might have been the scare of his life, but coming out safely also taught him a lesson or two. While laughable and newsworthy, this accident could have followed a more dangerous route. For any car wash, safety is a crucial component. Here are some top tips for safety at the car wash-for you, your customers, and your equipment.
Car Wash Safety Tips:
- Remember that safety is an ongoing process: Don’t just establish safety procedures for the sake of having them—follow them accordingly, and update them as needed.
- Develop a safety plan: Highlight the most dangerous exposures. Equipment in motion is a risk. Floors are wet and often slippery. Electrical work in such a harsh and wet environment must be conducted carefully and to code.
- Don’t neglect the dangers: Well-trained employees might eliminate risk, but you don’t know the driving history of your customers. It’s helpful to develop safety rules specifically for the customer. Make sure those rules are visible.
- Proper training: Ensure that every employee is knowledgeable on the proper attire to wear to work, as well as how to operate all tools and machinery inside the car wash. Damaging a customer’s car is one worry, but injuring oneself, the customer, or the equipment is a much bigger danger. Every employee needs to be educated, even if he or she only works one day a week. Accidents can happen at any time, and that employee could be the one person there when it happens.
- Hold employees accountable: Even if it doesn’t result in an accident, you’re bound to see employees deviating from safety procedures. Don’t let this happen. When it comes to safety, rules are in place for a reason. Make them, teach them, and stick to them. Incentivise your employees to work safely.
- Avoid driving while distracted: This is a huge risk that is easily avoidable. There should be no cell phones, headphones, ipads, or driving under the influence. While these may seem obvious, they cause accidents more than we can count. There is a driving risk with in-bay automatics, as well as conveyor-based systems.
- Use an aid: Let customers know when the wash cycle is complete. A stop-and-go light coupled with audio lets customers know when and how to use the wash easily.
Accidents happen, but that doesn’t mean that they’re out of your control. The best defense against a car wash accident like Josh Hood’s is to be knowledgeable of potential dangers. Implement, follow, and change safety procedures accordingly, educate every employee, and hold them accountable for their mistakes. Following simple rules can save a life.