Of all the issues that shop managers keep in mind – productivity, uptime, revenue, hiring, and expansion – none is more important than shop safety. Even one injury is too many, and that's why safety measures are a top priority.
Yet, many shops are working against themselves by using one tool that could lead to injury: creepers.
Creepers Are Risky Business
Although creepers are very common, the truth is they increase the chance of injury:
• Awkward positions can lead to muscle strain throughout the body, particularly in the back and neck as mechanics constantly reposition themselves for a better angle or a better view
• Technicians might get burned from working too closely to hazardous fluids or uncooled parts
• Floors can get slippery from oil or grease spills, gumming up tires and further increasing the risk of an accident
It might seem like creepers are beneficial since mechanics don't have to be on their feet as much, but one company, Schneider National, has found that there are great benefits to standing up.
Reduce Injuries With Mobile Column Lifts
A for-hire carrier headquartered in Green Bay, Schneider has been a transportation and logistics provider for nearly 80 years. Creepers were always common in the company's shops, but a spike in driveline injuries led them to reconsider how mechanics were working.
In 2008, the company installed their first Mach series mobile column lift from Rotary Lift. At first, technicians were skeptical of using the lift. It seemed dangerous and unnatural to walk under a 30-ton truck suspended above them. But once they were trained and started using it, the technicians were happy with the switch. Mechanics found it was much less strenuous and more convenient to stand than to crawl, kneel and bend all day.
Michael Beall, a senior mechanic with Schneider, says, "Standing is so much easier on our bodies. No more creepers and no more awkward positions." For more from the Schneider employees, take a look at the video below.
Make Zero Injuries Your Goal
Schneider found that not only did cycle time improve by 10 to 15 percent, but driveline injuries also plummeted after purchasing the Mach series lifts. In fact, 2013 was a record low year for injuries, and this year is on track to be even better. The company's goal is to have zero injuries every year, an aim that might have seemed impossible when they were using creepers. These days, Schneider has several mobile column lifts and feels on track with injury prevention.
With a rise of up to 70 inches, Mach series lifts can significantly reduce the number of back, knee, and hand injuries. Other shop owners should consider following Schneider's example, and stand up for safety.