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Staying safe while working in your garage this winter.

Added January 24, 2018
Garage Safety

For many motorcycle riders, winter weather means it’s time to park the bike. At least it provides some enthusiasts a golden opportunity to have some quality garage time with their cycles.

How safe is your garage?

Does the question make you immediately think about security? We often see the garage as the safest place to park our motorcycle. But the real question is—how safe is your garage as a workplace?

Whether you’re planning a restoration, customizing, or just applying some TLC while winterizing your motorcycle, there are some safety issues you should think about before you start.

Ventilation

The typical family garage is not heated and does not have a continual fresh air exchange. If your garage is attached to or beneath the house, it’s likely winterized to keep out cold air, creating a mostly sealed airspace. Many of the products that you may use working on your cycle contain chemicals that are potentially harmful if used without adequate ventilation. You should always read the labels before using them and ventilate your workspace as needed.

Fire

Fire is a fearsome force and something to avoid. Motorcycles contain flammable materials ranging from gasoline to hydrogen in a lead acid battery. Some cleaners and solvents used to service motorcycles are also flammable or combustible. Since it’s typically the vapors that burn, good ventilation is a start.

It’s also important to avoid any open flames or spark sources in your work area and properly dispose of any shop rags or paper towels used with flammable or combustible products to avoid potential fire hazards. Understand that when a cloth soaked in a flammable or combustible liquid begins to dry, it can generate heat through a chemical reaction called oxidation. If that heat can’t dissipate safely because the rags are piled together or confined, internal temperatures can get hot enough for them to ignite spontaneously.

The best way to control the danger is to put any wiping rags, waste, and oily material in a covered metal waste can. These are designed to be air-tight and keep oxidation from starting.

And always have at least one fire extinguisher at hand—preferably one rated Class ABC to handle many types of fires.

Personal protection

When working on your motorcycle, it’s wise to wear gloves appropriate for the job. Eye protection helps guard you from projectiles and splashed chemicals. A dust mask is key when painting, sanding, removing rust or corrosion, or any job that creates airborne particles. 

Beware of gravity

Falling objects can be a danger in your garage. Watch where you place tools and motorcycle components while you’re working. A wrench hitting a tank can ruin a paint job, but a heavy part or tool falling on you can ruin your day. Remember, gravity always wins.

Side stand hazards

Side stands are designed for parking a motorcycle and to be easily and securely retracted for riding—but they are not service stands. While you can use a bungee cord to counteract the side stand spring, it’s not a substitute for a quality front wheel chock or work stand. Dropping your motorcycle can cause great damage, especially if you’re under it.

These are just some of the tips to help get you thinking safety first when you tackle every winter motorcycle project in your garage. Ask your Dairyland representative for more safety ideas.

Till next time, ride safe!

 

Related links:

At Dairyland, we feel strongly about your safety and promote it through our Rider Training Course discount. Check it out.

Make sure you have the coverages you need, as well.