A garage is a common place to store yard equipment, power tools and chemicals as well as automobiles. These items along with factors inherent to garages, such as large moving doors, can present a safety hazard. Properly maintaining a garage and following general safety guidelines can help avoid any accidents in and around a garage.
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Storing Hazardous Materials
Garages are often used to store flammable, poisonous and other hazardous materials such as paint, animal poison, oil and gasoline. Poisonous materials should be stored in high shelving or in locked cabinets that cannot be accessed by children. Many hazardous products come with instruction labels that give storage and usage instructions. Follow these instructions as closely as possible to avoid problems. Make certain to store any flammable materials, such as gasoline, away from any heat sources such as water heaters or gas heaters and areas that receive direct sunlight.
Tools in a garage should be stored securely in low traffic areas. Any route that you use in the garage to travel in and out of your vehicles should be clear of tools and other equipment. Use sturdy hooks to hang equipment like bikes and wheelbarrows so that they are out of the way and above the floor. So that they do not clog walking lanes, store ladders horizontally along walls with hooks or sturdy bungees. Keep your tools well-sharpened and clean so that they are easy to use.
Cars can track dust and dirt into the garage which can make floors slippery. Regularly clean your garage to ensure that the floor and other surfaces are clear of debris. If any chemical stored in the garage happens to spill, clean it up immediately by consulting the clean up instructions on the containers. Many chemicals have toxic fumes that can present a health hazard if allowed to sit for an extended period of time. If you find a chemical spill but you can't determine what chemical has spilt, assume the spill is toxic. Avoid idling your car or using a grill inside your garage as it can cause harmful gas to build up in the garage.
Garage doors can present a safety hazard if they close on objects, pets or people. Old garages may not have safety mechanisms in place to prevent doors from closing or make them reverse direction when they encounter an obstruction. Installing a sensor that will reverse the direction of the door if any object is underneath the garage door can improve garage safety.
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