espace membre

Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair: Managing the Risks

There is always a risk of injury or damage when repairing hybrid and electric vehicles, due in part to a lack of training and information about proper procedures. The risk increases as more and more green vehicle models are released. It is also imperative that auto body repair workers be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE). Quebec’s Act respecting occupational health and safety requires employers to provide workers, free of charge, with all the PPE necessary to the performance of their work, and to ensure that the equipment is used.

The most significant risks are:

  • Electric shock
  • Fire and explosion
  • Exposure to hazardous materials

RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK

Electric shock can cause a tickling sensation, burns, and even death.

To reduce the risk of electric shock, technicians and auto body repairers must be familiar with the wiring colour code. They should also never assume that an electric battery has been de-energized.

PPE is required to prevent conduction between the power source and the ground. Insulated electrical gloves 1000V and safety boots with electric shock resistant protective soles (with the Ω logo) are recommended. Boots and gloves should be marked with a symbol resembling the Greek letter omega, which means they are resistant to electric shock. It is important to note that resistance to electric shock decreases rapidly in the presence of moisture and with wear and tear.

Never forget that information is the best prevention. It is always a good idea to check the manufacturer guidelines before repairing or handling a hybrid or electric model.

RISK OF EXPLOSION

When a green vehicle is in an accident, some of its components may be damaged. While there is variability among different battery models, these components are often highly toxic and flammable.

If there is a leak and battery fluid is exposed to a spark, the result can be devastating. The high energy density of the lithium in some batteries can even cause an explosion.

When a vehicle is brought in, staff should have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage the risks associated with the repairs.

 

RISK OF EXPOSURE TO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

When an electrical component is leaking hazardous materials, it is important to avoid contact with the fluid. Contact with skin may lead to a cutaneous reaction and/or burns. It is also important to avoid inhaling the toxic vapours.

Several pieces of PPE are required for this type of work, including Class 00 electrical insulating gloves, safety glasses or a visor, and protective footwear. There must be no sources of ignition within six (6) metres, and the ventilation system in the mechanical workshop must perform four (4) air changes per hour.

 

NEW: PPE MANAGEMENT TOOLBOX

For more information on the PPE required for the repair of hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as general PPE management, the CCAQ and CarrXpert, in collaboration with Novo SST, have developed a toolbox to facilitate PPE management and implementation.

The toolbox sets out the following 8-step approach:

  • Applicable legislation
    • Drafting a PPE policy
    • Making a list of PPE
    • Selecting PPE
    • Setting up a PPE management program
  • Promoting a PPE management program
  • Implementing a PPE management program
  • Assessing and updating a PPE management program

FAQs are available to help answer any questions members may have regarding PPE.

To access the FAQs, visit the CCAQ website at www.ccaq.com.

Members can access the Services/Prevention Mutual/PPE Management section. The approach is also available to CCAQ prevention mutual members through Novo SST.

Auto Prévention, a joint sector-based association, has developed several training courses and information packages for work on hybrid and electric vehicles. More information is available on their website at www.autoprevention.org