Your next trip to the salvage yard may pay off with exactly the part or assembly you need, but it can also host some lurking dangers for the careless. A cavalier attitude toward handling used cars and auto parts can result in a variety of entirely preventable injuries.
Fortunately, you can stay safe during your salvage yard expedition simply by following a few smart basic practices. Discover some general rules to keep in mind before, during, and after your search.
Wear Protective Clothing
Before you ever set foot onto the salvage yard, pay attention to your choice of clothing. Start by selecting long sleeves and pants made of durable material. These items of clothing will protect your skin from burrs, environmental allergens, hidden bits of jagged metal, and irritating liquids.
Don’t forget to safeguard your hands and eyes. Handling and removing used auto parts can expose your hands to corrosive materials and other threats, so don a pair of automotive shop gloves (which you can find at any auto supply store). Wear safety goggles to keep flying debris or chemicals out of your eyes.
Last but not least, wear closed-toe shoes to the salvage yard. Sandals or other open-toe footwear offer insufficient protection against any sharp or heavy object that might make contact with your feet. Many salvage yards routinely require closed-toe shoes on the premises as a general rule for this reason.
Leave Your Pet at Home
Pets can encounter some serious dangers if they get away from their owners and go exploring in an auto salvage yard. In addition to many of the same irritants and injury sources that threaten humans, animals risk accidentally ingesting fluids that may puddle underneath vehicles.
Antifreeze presents one of the most notorious examples of such dangers. Dogs, cats, and other pets could lap antifreeze up because they perceive a sweet aroma and flavor. Unfortunately, this highly toxic substance can cause acute poisoning or death when ingested. Eliminate this possibility by leaving your pet at home.
Don’t Drink and Wrench
When you pull parts from a used vehicle in a salvage yard, you must make smart decisions and react to the unexpected. For instance, a heavy part might start falling in a different direction than you had intended, forcing you to dodge it. Proper removal of a part may call for careful disassembly procedures.
Alcohol inhibits your reflexes, judgment, memory, and ability to make quick decisions. The same effects that make driving or the use of heavy machinery dangerous can also cause you to attempt an unwise action or react too slowly to a hazardous situation. Stay sober for your salvage yard experience.
Don’t Use Flammables
Auto salvage yards, and the vehicles that they accommodate, typically serve as repositories for flammable substances, including gasoline. If a stray spark lands on these substances, you may start a fire. For this reason, avoid using tools such as flame cutters when removing or disassembling parts.
Also, consider the interior of an auto salvage yard a no-smoking zone. Cigarettes can throw sparks and start fires just as easily as cutting tools. If you must take a smoke break, go outside the fenced perimeter of the salvage yard to do it.
Lift With Caution
An ill-advised or unsafe attempt to move an automotive engine, transmission, or other major assembly can leave you with a heavy lifting injury. Typical heavy lifting injuries include debilitating spinal damage, strained back muscles, and wrist or elbow injuries.
Keep in mind that some of these assemblies simply weigh too much for one person to lift or carry safely and easily. If you plan on pulling such an item and removing it from the yard, bring a second person to help you with the heavy lifting. Bring a dolly, wheelbarrow, or other tool to facilitate your efforts.
Once you have taken these safety tips to heart, you can wander the salvage yard, examine cars, and pull parts with confidence and peace of mind. Contact City Auto Wreckers with any additional questions you may have.