Hazards and risks
The hazards of working in or around vehicle service pits can include:
- falls into an unguarded or uncovered pit
- asphyxiation due to fuel vapours and other chemicals
- poor ventilation in service pits can allow hazardous atmospheres to develop
- fuel vapours from vehicles and gaseous by-products of combustion settling in low areas, such as vehicle service pits
- explosion or fire.
Risk control measures should be based on fall prevention, ventilation and fire safety. Safety solutions may include:
- using multi-purpose hoists and elevated ramps for overhead work, rather than the conventional service pit
- painting the pit interior white and outline the edges for at least 600mm in a conspicuous colour (e.g. safety yellow)
- installing sectionalised guard railing designed to fit into prepared floor sockets, or suspend chain barriers from removable steel uprights to prevent people walking into open pits
- covering pits when not in use with either traditional hardwood covers, or the better solution of heavy interlocked steel plates designed to run through guide rails (much like a roller shutter)
- using ventilation systems with vents in the side walls of the pit to vent vapours and fumes
- ensuring all portable or permanent lighting and/or electrical equipment within the hazardous zone of the pit is intrinsically safe
- safely draining a petrol tank or service LPG-powered vehicles - never do this over or next to a service pit
- avoiding work involving welding or oxy cutting inside or adjacent to service pits.