Safe Shops Run Better! 

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Matt White is the Director of Tire Services for the Tire Industry Association (TIA). He has over 34 years of experience training technicians from all over the globe on how to stay safe on the job. Photo Matt White

Training will keep you sharp.   

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from over 30 years in the tire industry, it’s that safety doesn’t come easily. You have to work at being safe.

That’s especially true in winter tire changeover season, which is happening right now. So you’ve got double the amount of cars and double the number of tires coming in, and getting very busy. 

That means you and your staff are putting in lots of hours. Any time you put in increased hours, it increases the opportunity for incidents. That’s why you should be training because it will help keep you sharp. It’s too easy to get complacent in this industry, and we can’t afford to be.

Some people think training is just showing someone how to do something that they haven’t done before. That’s not true. It’s bringing in new ideas, bringing in better safety procedures. 

Why not start the day by having a conversation with your employees, making sure PPE and safety protocols are up to date? Have everyone contribute – what are you looking for today? It keeps everybody together, promotes a team atmosphere, and encourages people to learn from each other, from their supervisors, and from the industry. Shops that follow their safety protocols just run better!

Customers are watching

This is not the time to put your guard down. You’re getting lots of business in through the door, and it’s really easy not to take care of yourself and get worn down. Flu season is coming up, and Covid is still out there. There’s a lot to be careful about.

Whether you realize it or not, your customer is very observant. They see how you’re dressed, how you perform, and what’s going on in your shop. It all reflects on you as well as the company you work for. Take a look to make sure staff are wearing their proper uniforms, and always taking the right safety precautions. What do you see? That’s what the customer is seeing. 

Perception is just part of our industry. What if the customer doesn’t like what they see? They won’t come back and may start telling their neighbours and leave a negative online review. Word of mouth is huge in our industry.

Liability is growing

The industry has changed. Liability is growing, so training is important. That’s why training your staff, showing them the ropes, and having constant reminders like safety brochures up on the wall makes a difference. That’s reality, and a part of our industry now. 

When it gets busy, it’s easy to lose direction. After Christmas, January and February are going to be rough. So this is the perfect opportunity to look at the cars coming in, and recommend mechanical services like struts and brakes, that can be your winter work. 

Let the customer know you’re looking at their car so that if you find an issue, they can schedule the work for a later date. Don’t let it go out the door because you’re worried about tire count – you can do the same amount of tires, and still, check cars for any needed mechanical work.

Whether you’re doing tires or working on a car, take a look at the seats – you’re responsible for the people that are in those seats. At the end of the day, you cannot forget that a major part of your job is simply service. 



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