ACCC urges DIY car repairers to make safety a priority

Mechanic

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The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding consumers to make safety a priority when working on cars at home or at a workshop

Statistics show since 2000, around 120 people have died as a result of DIY car maintenance accidents, and many hundreds have been hospitalised due to injuries.

According to ACCC, most fatalities happen when the victims are working under a vehicle and using equipment incorrectly, with many of the fatalities involving the use of vehicle jacks. Most of the fatalities were men and involved the vehicle being lifted or supported in the wrong way.

A safety campaign which includes a video explaining the correct procedure for common DIY car maintenance tasks has been developed by the ACCC to help raise awareness about the associated dangers.

“Tragically, many people, including some experienced mechanics, have been crushed and killed while working under their car,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“We’ve created this video to help people understand and avoid the common unsafe practices with DIY repairs to help reduce the likelihood of an accident.

“We want to get the message out that people should never get under a vehicle supported only by a jack, they should always use support stands or ramps, and chocks.”

According to ACCC, common unsafe DIY practices that can lead to accidents can include:

  • Performing vehicle maintenance on unsteady ground, sand or a sloped surface;
  • Using makeshift support stands such as wood or bricks;
  • Not applying the handbrake and not putting the vehicle in gear or in park;
  • Failing to “chock” the wheels on a raised vehicle;
  • Incorrectly using a vehicle jack or using a jack with a known fault.

The ACCC spoke with Robinette Emonson, whose husband died after being crushed by his car while working in his garage.

“Despite suffering this tragic loss, Robinette has shared her story to help raise awareness, and share an important message with others,” Mr. Keogh said.

To watch these videos, go to the ACCC website.

More information about safe vehicle maintenance is available at productsafety.gov.au/DIYCarSafety.

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