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Quick Q&A – Are technicians allowed to wear shorts?

Glorianna Corman /

Temperatures are rising, and around this time every year, I get this question a lot.

Now, there are no regulations that specifically prohibit shorts from being worn by technicians in the shop.

But, the first part of the Personal Protective Equipment regulation states that if there is a hazard, the employee must be protected with personal protective equipment 1910.132(a):

"Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact."

Ultimately the decision is yours.  If the dealership feels that wearing shorts does not pose a hazard to the employees, then it is ok to allow the technicians to wear them.

However, it is important to note that taking away that extra skin protection might expose employees’ legs to cuts, chemicals, burns, etc.  Therefore if the technician operates cutting tools, works in the body shop around sharp metal or broken glass, or is exposed to chemicals in the detail area, this should be considered when implementing a shorts policy.

Keep an eye on your data, though. If after the adoption of the policy the incidence of these types of injuries increases, the dealership may want to reassess the associated hazards and review the policy.

Some other things to think about regarding summer heat in the shop:

Summertime Footwear: Keep the Flip Flops at Home

Continue with slip-resistant shoes, no open-toed shoes or sandals should be permitted in the service and detail departments. 

Fans in the Shop

Employees often bring in fans to help keep them cool during the summer months. As an employer, you’ll want to maintain a safe working environment and make sure these additional fans are not a safety hazard.  Things to look for are exposed fan blades or belts that are missing guarding.  These fans should either be fixed/repaired or removed from the shop.  Fans should also not be operated in the lower 18 inches of the shop environment.  This is so the fans are not an ignition source for flammable vapors that sink to the ground like gasoline, brake clean, or propane. 

Stay cool out there. And, stay safe!

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