How to set up a safe car workshop at home

7 top safety tips from the Garage Equipment Direct team

At Garage Equipment we reckon planning and setting up your own car workshop is just about the most exciting home reno you can do.

From planning your own space, to outfitting it with the latest Garage Equipment Direct gear, it’s a job that’ll give you years of satisfaction.

Yet there’s a serious side to setting up a home workshop too. There are many potential dangers that can lurk in your garage, if you don’t take a few sensible precautions.

Here’s the Garage Equipment Direct team’s top 7 handy tips for ensuring safety in a home car workshop.

1) Breathe easier with proper workshop ventilation

Ensuring your workshop is correctly ventilated is crucial. And it’s not just the obvious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from working in close proximity to a running engine.

Using cleaning solvents such as degreasing agents in a poorly ventilated area can also be very dangerous. And if you’re welding in your home workshop, take care that you’re not exposed to air contaminants, fumes and gasses for long.

For all these reasons, make sure your workshop has proper ventilation to bring in fresh air and remove toxic and stale air.

2) Make sure you have sufficient safety switches installed & working

You probably know that a safety switch is designed to protect you against electric shock by turning off the power in just a fraction of a second, if a leakage of current is detected.

But you might not realise that one safety switch may not be enough to fully protect you. That’s because a safety switch only provides protection on the circuit where it’s installed. So you should consider having safety switches installed on every circuit in your home and workshop, including power points, lights, air conditioning, and vehicle hoists.

And while we’re on the subject, make sure you test your safety switches every three months to ensure they’re still doing their job.

3) Check all extension leads are in good nick

Even though your home workshop’s extension leads don’t have to be formally “tested & tagged”, it’s still a very good idea to take a careful look regularly and ensure they’re in good working order.

In a home workshop environment it’s very easy for electrical cords to be damaged, either by machinery, tools, or through constant vehicle movement.

Check for signs of fraying or damage to the outer casing. If an extension cord feels hot, or looks discoloured, it can be a sign of overloading and a potential fire hazard.

If you do notice a lead has been cut or damaged, you should replace it completely. Repairing a damaged extension lead is not recommended – it’s just not worth the risk.

4) Keep your home workshop a place for big kids only

While kids generally don’t have access to a professional auto workshop, that’s not the case with your home setup. And with its heavy machinery, toxic chemicals, fuel, and electricity, a home car workshop is no place for kids.

So if you have small kids at home, take the time to limit their access to your workshop with kid-proof gates or fencing.

While you’re thinking about children, spare a thought for them when you’re moving vehicles in and out of your workshop. Always have an adult supervise any children whenever you’re moving a vehicle – or if you’re the only adult around, put children securely in the vehicle with you while you move it.

 Of course, it’s not only kids who could be injured in your home workshop.

5) Think about how you’ll respond in an emergency

Even though an emergency situation in your home workshop will hopefully be extremely rare, there’s no use only thinking about how to deal with it once it’s happened.

So put some thought and preparation into your emergency response from the get-go. That might involve things like having a fire blanket, extinguisher, and First Aid kit ready to go in your home car workshop.

Make sure your garage features adequate lighting to let you properly see what you’re doing, to avoid damaging yourself or your car. Ensure lead lights are properly enclosed in safety cages to avoid the risk of electrocution if a bulb breaks.

And take some time to think about how you can get out of the workshop quickly and safely in the event of a major emergency.

6) Make sure dangerous fluids are stored safely

You’ll no doubt have engine oil and even fuel kept in your home garage. Take the time to check these fluids are securely stored in appropriate containers, and labelled for future reference.

When you’re choosing a storage spot, think about the chances of a leak occurring, and where the fluid could spread. If you’re storing fuel, make sure it’s kept away from any sources of heat.

It can also pay to check if your home insurance policy covers accidental damage from your home car workshop.

7) Be discerning about which YouTube ‘how-to’ videos you take note of

You might have seen the recent YouTube video where a bloke helpfully showed people “how to add a headphone jack to their iPhone 7” – using a power drill…

That was a parody how-to video of course, but that apparently didn’t stop hundreds of people from taking a power drill to their brand new phones, with predictable results.

The lesson? Make sure you thoroughly check the credibility of any YouTube user before following their advice. At Garage Equipment we’re fans of the “Mighty Car Mods” YouTube channel that features loads of great DIY car modification advice.

Set up your home car workshop safely and enjoy

With a little forethought and planning, you really can set up your ultimate home workshop safely.

Even if you already have an existing home workshop, don’t assume your setup is safe. Run a critical eye over it – and make sure a little oversight doesn’t become a big problem.

For more expert advice on how to safely work on vehicle in your home workshop, talk to the expert Garage Equipment team on 1800 777 318 or get in touch with the contact form here.



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