Businesses working on electric vehicles

To work on EVs safely, there’s a need for technicians to receive adequate information, instruction and training.

This can take various forms including manufacturer specific training, in-house training and external training delivered by trade bodies i.e. the Institute of the Motor Industry or the Retail Motor Industry Federation.

The ‘Publicly Available Specification (PAS43:2018)  - safe working of vehicle breakdown and recovery operations management systems’ specification provides specific recommendations on technician training and competence.
There are a several hazards to consider in a workplace environment, which include:
  • high voltage cabling and components capable of delivering a potentially fatal electric shock
  • storage of electric energy that could cause an explosion or fire
  • components that retain dangerous voltage even when a vehicle is switched off
  • motors that might unexpectedly move due to magnetic forces
  • manual handling – battery replacement for example
  • potential release of explosive gases and harmful substances if batteries are damaged for example
  • vehicles moving silently and at low speeds
  • electrical systems on vehicles impacting medical devices such as pacemakers.
Some key risk measures to improve safety and minimise the risk:
  • Keep remote operation keys away from the vehicles to prevent them being accidently powered up
  • Ensure manufactures guidance is followed around cleaning and potential issues around use of water and cleaning in engine bays for example
  • Visual checks for damage, in addition to arrangements for disconnection and isolation are key
  • During recovery operations, remote operation keys should be removed to a suitable distance and the standard battery disconnected to prevent the vehicle being started / activated
  • Avoid towing unless it can be determined to be safe to do so. Movement of the drive wheels can generate dangerous voltages
  • Only use suitable / recommended and electrically insulated tools and test equipment
  • Battery packs are susceptible to high temperatures, with maximum temperature exposures to be confirmed, particularly in advance of body work involving spray booths and ovens for example. Battery packs may need to be removed for such work.
  • Avoid live working.
  • Whilst to be seen as a last line of defence, ensure suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided and its use implemented. Arrangements for maintenance, storage, placement and instructions for use should also be given.
  • Procedures for lone working, this again being of particular relevance to recovery operations and those involved in vehicle collection, delivery and road tests post maintenance, servicing and repair.