Advancing Pit Safety Across Industries: Lube & Auto Care Shops

When one thinks of a traditional car garage scene, an open service pit is almost always a part of the picture. Covered pits are not frequently seen at these types of facilities.  Even in new and modern shops, which are largely safe places to work, incidents of falling into pits still occur. The difference from the lube shops of the past is that today there are exponentially more regulations in place to protect employees and visitors from hazards. OSHA regulations and laws that dictate workplace conditions are becoming stricter each year. OSHA General Industry Code 1910 recommends preventative measures to ensure a safe working environment, “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm.”

One of the main hazards, unique for oil change shops, are open pits.  They are very easy to fall into, especially when combined with oil spills, objects to trip over, and the movement of vehicles over the pit regularly. The best option in the past, besides frequent employee training, was fencing off or completely covering the service pit when not in use.  A variety of solutions to prevent the falls are still offered on the market, including fiberglass grate, metal grate systems, nets, or webs. All of these are generally affordable products; however, they have significant weaknesses that prevent them from serving their intended purpose: safety. For example, these solutions do not provide a stable walking service, and they do not have the ability to support a load. Most of them are also difficult to operate as they require manual removal and placement.

The new outlook on safety prompted auto shops to seek solutions from companies like Hennig, who have a lot of experience in pit safety. We are receiving a growing number of inquiries from auto shops who are interested in pit covers because they are user friendly, easy to operate, and the rigid steel or aluminum construction provides the safest pit protection available.  The Hennig pit cover cannister can be located on the either end inside of a pit or, if a pit has stairs, on the stairs-opposing side. The covers easily slides along the support rails and resist wear and tear from oil, debris and solvents and withstand the weight of falling objects with minimal deflection. Custom pit covers we build have numerous application uses in various industries. Lube and auto care shops are one of many industries that have transitioned towards using walk-on pit covers because of the benefits and superiority to alternative solutions.