Confront the Killer – Could Distracted Driving Unintentionally Hurt Your Dealership?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Car with front end damage due to accident, air bag deployedIf you ask your employees whether they’re safe drivers, they’ll generally answer, “Yes.” Truth is, most of us really try to be safe drivers.

Your dealership has many employees who drive as a part of their jobs and may be unaware of how distracted they are. According to OSHA, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of worker fatalities.

There are steps you can take as an employer to reduce risks related to distracted driving. For example:

  1. Training. Driving’s gotten a lot more complicated since most of us climbed behind the wheel for the first time. KPA’s Safe Driver training includes information on preventing distractions, defensive driving and evasive maneuvers.
  2. Awareness campaigns. You can hold a “Drive Safely” campaign at your dealership. offers videos, fliers and other items you can use at your work sites to make employees more aware of the risks.

Awareness and training are important because we get so used to distractions when we drive, we don’t realize we’re at risk. (You can test your own risk for distracted driving on KPA’s site.)

To find out more about your responsibilities as an employer, visit the Department of Transportation website Pages with good information for employers include Regulations and State Laws. KPA clients can also contact their safety engineer or HR consultant for help with training programs.

7 Safety Pitfalls in Your Parts Department

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

How would your Parts Department fare today, if you received a safety inspection? Our engineers have found 7 common areas where things go wrong. Some are pretty easy to spot, but some are less obvious. Let’s take a look at a few:

1) Unsafe storage on shelves 
If you have sprinkler heads in your Parts Department, make sure items stored on the top shelf don’t obstruct the sprinkler heads. If you don’t have sprinkler heads, keep two feet of clearance between the roof and the top shelf of your storage.

2) Electrical panels
Make sure you have at least three feet of clearance around all sides of your electrical panels. You may want to use caution tape, or something similar, to mark the area that must stay clear.

3) Batteries
Do you have used or warranty batteries stored in the Parts Department? Most dealers do. Make sure that they are in containers that eliminate battery acid spill on the ground. It’s also best to have baking soda on hand to make sure that any acid spills can be quickly neutralized.

4) DOT hazardous materials training
DOT training is required and due every three years. This applies to your Parts Department if they ship any kind of hazardous materials like seat belt pretensioners or air bag modules.

Want to guess what the other 3 pitfalls are?… There are also numerous hazards related to light bulbs, upstairs storage areas and forklifts.

To get more information on all these safety pitfalls, watch KPA’s 3 minute video.

June Tip of the Month: Get Your DOT Training Up to Speed

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Compliance Tip of the MonthKPA’s new DOT course gives employees more control over the training process, cutting down on the amount of time it normally takes to complete DOT training. In addition, the course incorporates real world examples from dealerships and service centers as part of the interactive scenarios that help employees apply what they have learned to their jobs.

click here  to Check out a demo of the new course and its interactive features.

… or, if you’re already a KPA client, you can  login at to take the new course.


DOT Hazard Signs Memory Game

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Did you take the October Newsletter matching game challenge? Think fast! This is a quick refresher for DOT signs that you might see around the service bay. Match symbols to win. See how fast you can go! Play solo or with a group. Follow this link to test your skills:

New Safe Driving Online Training Course

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

You’ve asked for it and now it’s here: The Safe Driving online training course. If you or your employees test drive vehicles that have been in for service, shuttle customers to or from your location, take customers on test drives as part of the sales process, or transport vehicles or parts from one location to another, this course will help increase the number of safety precautions you take every time you get behind the wheel.

Take the course for a spin today! Go to > Dashboard > My Online Training > and then scroll down until you see Safe Driving. When you’re finished, let us know what you think by taking the survey at the end of the course.

Also, keep an eye out for a new course on respiratory protection set to launch this fall. Have a course you’d like to see KPA develop? Let us know!

A Note About Hazmat and FAA

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Recently, we received this note from one of our clients. I’d like to thank them for the kind words, and share it with our online community because it has some helpful information about Hazmat shipping by air.

“Just a note to let you know, we had a visit from an FAA hazardous materials agent today. We shipped a used fuel pump back to Honda on the 11th per their request. We shipped it air per the Airbill info that Honda supplied. He said that they check all air shipments of Hazmat materials and needed copies of my training certification and asked a few questions, he had copies of the Airbill. Said he checks Fedex daily for all Hazmat airbills. He also said we should call the emergency response number that we are listing to make sure that it is valid and current, and that we are covered under their contract. I let him know that we use KPA for our training; he said they are the best. I asked and he said everything was okay, left a Hazmat transportation safety infopack. Also said they are focused on air shipments and not ground shipping, and was surprised that Honda did not ship the part by ground. He pretty much told me that I should refuse to ship by air.”

Compliance Tip of the Month

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Training Requirements for Dealership EmployeesTraining Requirements for Dealership Employees
The quick guide to training: who needs it, in which areas and departments, for which enforcement agencies, and how often each training requirement must be renewed. Check the list at

Who Needs DOT HazMat Training? It’s More Employees Than You’d Think!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Under the DOT regulations (Title 49 Part 172.702) any employee defined as a hazmat employee is required to be trained.  So you ask what is a hazmat employee? The definition is found in (Title 49 Part 171.8) and includes employees that:
• Load, unload, or handle hazardous materials
• Prepare, package, label or mark hazardous materials
• Operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials

Now of course not all employees at your facility need to be DOT trained, but depending on who is responsible for different operations you may have to train more employees than you would like. So for an automotive service facility employees that need to be trained include:
• Parts management – they oversee the transportation of hazmat
• Parts shipping & receiving – they load & unload hazmat & might even prepare shipping papers

Additional employees that may need to be trained include:
• Parts drivers – they may transport hazmat
• Service employees – they may prepare & package hazmat (take for example a battery being returned to the manufacturer. The service employee prepares the battery for shipment and may even place it in the shipping container
• Service management – they may oversee hazmat employee operations and may sign for hazmat shipments with the disposal of their facilities wastes.

Learn more about KPA’s  hazmat training at

Join the conversation:   How are you providing required training in your dealership.

How To Ship Recalled Airbags

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Airbags contain hazardous materials. Requirements for commercial shipping of these materials vary depending on if your parts department will ship the airbags by ground or air.

Ground Shipments

  • Dealerships are required to provide DOT hazardous materials training for any employees involved with the activity of shipping airbags (or other DOT Hazardous materials such as batteries, lubricants, cleaners, additives, paint, etc.,)

Air Shipments

  • Shipping Hazardous Materials by air is inherently much more dangerous than ground transportation and involves more training, preparation and precautions.
  • Domestic shipments of hazardous materials require training that has an air shipment section that is DOT compliant as well as satisfying carrier specific requirements.
  • For international shipments air carriers are only able to accept hazardous materials packaged in conformance with the International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR).
  • To meet IATA DGR standards, any employees involved with the activity of shipping hazardous materials are required to maintain current IATA certification which takes at least 3 days of training to complete.

KPA recommends that all clients should review DOT certified employee status:

  • make sure that you have an adequate number of employees certified to cover all shifts where shipping and receiving activities occur, and that only certified employees engage in these activities;
  • ensure that all certifications remain current – certification is valid for 3 years, at which time employees must be recertified.
  • weigh the FAA audit risk and additional certification time and cost vs. the time savings in air shipment of hazmat.
  • Watch this 2 minute video “Air Shipping Protocols Auto Dealers Need To Know” also available at


Clients with additional questions on DOT hazmat certification, FAA investigations, and IATA certification are encouraged to contact their KPA engineer.

MSDS Gone Wild!

Friday, November 19th, 2010

“Oh no! We have a serious problem. The plant office manager ran into my office with a frantic look of panic on her face. The company safety inspectors are here and they want to see an MSDS on the Wite-Out. What will we do?”

Although this article written by Greg Klima titled “MSDS Gone Wild!” never explains if you really do need an material data safety sheet (MSDS) on Wite-Out, it’s a side of hazard communication that you don’t see too often, and it’s an interesting insight into an alarming scenario.

The story plays out like this: you are scrambling through your binders or your MSDS database of chemicals (just like about a thousand other safety professionals do every year when safety professionals show up). You are panicking because you have been taught to believe that you need an MSDS on every chemical in your facility, including Sally’s mayonnaise packets, Timmy’s aspirin, and Billy’s cosmetic dental floss, and the author’s advice while this hectic scenario plays out is to:


It’s true that the purpose of the hazard communication standard is meant to set rules to inform employees of risks which they are exposed to when working with potentially hazardous chemicals, but while the intentions of this basic rule of haz-com makes us keep our binders and databases updated in the event of an emergency or a facility audit, we have perhaps become almost too good at this practice. We now may have MSDS on items we don’t necessarily need to have them for – the truth is we do not need to have an MSDS on every single chemical in our facility. Once we determine which items not to worry about keeping on file, the easier it may be to maintain records. It’s that simple.

When Do I Not Need an MSDS?

If you check OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.1200, you’ll see that OSHA is very specific about exceptions to its application and scope. MSDS are only one form of hazard communication. Two additional ways to inform employees about potential risks include container labeling and employee training. Other details include what chemicals are exempt from this rule (29 CFR 1910.1200(b)) and which categories of hazardous chemicals do not apply (29 CFR 1910.1200(b)(6)).  Knowing what to be worried about now might save you some fretting in the future.

At KPA, we can help you maintain and update your facility’s MSDS database and chemical inventory as well as provide training and expert advice to help you support a safe and healthy workplace. With seven EHS services, we can help you comply with DOT and MSDS and hazard communication requirements all the way up to a complete environmental, health, and safety program. Each KPA service consists of a combination of online software, on-site services, function-specific training, and expert consulting necessary for a complete compliance program. Contact us to learn what level of support is right for your business.