Posts Tagged ‘DOT compliance’

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.

Compliance Tip of the Month: Improve Your Driving at Work

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Compliance Tip of the MonthThirty percent of traumatic fatalities occur from employees driving on the job. If you ever talk on your cell phone while driving, follow too closely behind the vehicle in front of you, or forget to wear your seat belt, you put your life and the lives of others at risk. Just putting your ringer on silent or turning your phone off all together can greatly reduce your chances of getting in an accident.

If you or your employees drive in any capacity as part of your job, KPA’s new online Safe Driving course will help you increase the number of safety precautions you take every time you get behind the wheel. Take it today and have all new employees complete it within 30 days of hire.

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.

Environmental Health and Safety Start At The Top

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

A successful environmental health and safety program has to start from the top.  Without executive involvement,  even those programs designed and implemented with the best of intentions,  sputter and frequently fail.  With the increase in regulatory audits management must be an active not a passive participant. Outsourcing training, facility inspections and using software to track and report on compliance can be a terrific cost and time saver but does not replace management oversight. If management is not actively engaged in ensuring a safe workplace employees will not be engaged.

For some great tips on how to create a safety culture in your organization with authentic management engagement watch this  short video by Wayne Curtis, Director of Client Operations for KPA.

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.

KPA Covers Electronic Devices In EHS Regulatory Audits

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

As part of a facility inspection report, KPA engineers always check for functionality and safety of standard electronic devices, and they are very instrumental in helping dealerships keep work environments clear of shock hazards to employees. This is very helpful because electrical and wiring methods are number seven on the top ten most frequently cited standards in workplace inspection.

While Federal regulatory agencies are increasing citations and penalties for electronic equipment malfunctions in the auto industry, it is important to remember that KPA is reliable and helps protect our client’s reputation for safety.

Announcing the latest KPA services!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Here at KPA, we have good news to announce about our latest and greatest software and services! We have taken our Environmental, Health, and Safety services product line and we have more than (drum roll please…) doubled what we offer!

We have expanded our three levels of service to seven levels to accommodate all of the many different types of auto dealers, auto service shops, heavy equipment dealers and manufacturers. We now have more options and competitive pricing for the smaller, independent dealers in the marketplace as well as the many other size dealerships, so that we are able to be of help to any size or shape business.

Our latest offer includes a standalone DOT and MSDS service, the next level is Elements service, our Fundamental and Fundamental Plus, Core and Core Plus, and Pro service. In addition to these, we are excited to have incorporated a self-inspection and survey tool that is available on our online software, MyKPAOnline, so you don’t have to use other generic surveys to audit your site. Our other latest special feature which adds to our “Plus” services is the addition of “online conference and audit reviews.” These online, webinar-style audit reviews are a convenient and practical way to have your safety issues reviewed with your KPA safety professional from the comfort of your desk.

Read the latest news release and go to our EHS Software and Services.

Keep the great ideas coming; we are listening!

New DOT HazMat Rule Goes into Effect October 1

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Rule Summary

Starting on October 1, 2010 the Department of Transportation will begin enforcing a revised Hazardous Materials transportation rule. This rule amends the Hazardous Materials Regulations to clarify requirements for using a third-party 24 hour emergency number. In order for the emergency response operator to be able to link the materials you are shipping to your MSDSs and other emergency response information, the DOT is requiring that identifying information for your facility is listed on the shipping papers.

What you need to do

For most facilities, compliance with the new rule will be fairly straight forward. KPA recommends you take both of the steps below to ensure your materials are easily identified in case of an accident. However, to be in compliance you should ensure at least one of the following is listed in close proximity to the 24 hour emergency number:

  1. Your facility name is clearly identified on the shipping papers.
  2. Your 24 hour emergency number provider account number is printed on the shipping papers.

For example, to ensure the highest level of compliance, if your facility name is not listed elsewhere, you should list the following in the description section of the shipping paper:

Your Facility Name, 24 hour number, Acct#

If you have additional questions on this regulatory change or DOT hazmat regulations in general, talk with your current DOT hazmat provider to understand the upcoming changes in regulation.

For additional information, here is an electronic version of the 2008 Emergency Response Guidebook.

By Peter Zaidel and Wendy Hudson

Missing face plates on electrical outlets: $52,500 fine

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Okay. It’s not exactly that. OSHA proposed the $52,500 penalties for four violations: a repeat violation is for failing to provide functioning safety latches on the hydraulic automobile lifts, a serious citation is for missing face plates on electrical outlets, and two other-than-serious violations are for recordkeeping deficiencies and hazard communication deficiencies. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Two learning lessons from this press release:

(1) OSHA is STILL providing you the opportunity to reduce the fine by complying or contesting. HOWEVER, the damage is to your reputation is already done when a press release like this goes out from OSHA

(2) These violations are just a few in pretty much an end-less, and growing, list of potential violations. You can use EHS checklists but that gets you only so far.These checklists typically don’t cover the  General Duty Clause very well, and makes it virtually impossible to rely on checklists alone. For reference, the general duty clause states that “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”

My advice: stop playing whac-a-mole with regulations, do a risk assessment, and engage in a formal safety program.

OSHA fine amounts increasing?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Just read an article in Tire Review that OSHA fined a Toledo dealer $177,800 as the result of an October 2009 accident in which four employees were injured. OSHA cited the dealer for three violations of worker safety regulations after investigating the accident. The employees suffered injuries when an agricultural tire being worked on exploded. No question that the accident was very serious as an OSHA spokesman said that the dealer did not provide a safety cage or barrier to protect employees working on large commercial tires, failed to ensure employees worked outside the trajectory path, and that the tire’s maximum inflation pressure was exceeded when the employees attempted to seat the tire’s beads. In addition, citations were issued because employees failed to wear safety glasses and not having a required valve pressure gauge.

My point here is only that I’m under the impression that the fines imposed by OSHA are increasing? Do you have similar experiences? What do you think? Please respond below with your comments.