The vehicle lifts that are supporting the cars, trucks and buses being repaired in your garage can represent one of the most productive tools in your shop, or one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment your techs use if not used and maintained properly.
As lifts are one of the most critically important pieces of shop equipment, you should follow these basic safety rules.
First, buy certified lifts and options. There’s one and only one nationally recognized safety standard for vehicle lifts: ANSI-ALI/ALCTV, administered by the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI/ETL). To verify equipment status, look for the gold ALI/ETL certification tag next to the lift’s controls. Additionally, if the optional accessory isn’t certified, the lift isn’t certified. Complying with American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) requirements is the key to keeping vehicle lifts at the highest possible safety level, sending your technicians home safely after each shift, and avoiding write-ups or hefty noncompliance fines.
Next, manufacturers of the most common lift two-post, side by side lifts mandate that none of the four swing arms be overloaded. Look around your shop and determine if any lifts are being overloaded based on the heavy rear ends of work trucks, and dividing total lift capacity by four swing arms.
Like any product, lifts vary in style, type, capability, longevity, and warranty. But ANSI/ALCTV regulations, and all 18 ALl/ETL-certified manufacturers, suggest annual maintenance and technician training to remain in compliance with safety regulations. ANSI requires technicians to be trained annually in proper lift use. This may seem unnecessary, yet use the example of everyone who drives a forklift in your facility requiring an annual safety test. Every year fork lift operators watch a safety video and take a test.
ANSI/Automotive Lift Institute ALCTV Standard for Automotive Lifts – “Safety Requirements for Construction, Testing, and Validation” requires technicians to perform a daily operational safety check. The code also requires an annual inspection by a qualified individual. Failing to do so exposes your shop to liabilities that could be associated with an injury if an accident were to happen. Contact your manufacturer or garage equipment sales company to schedule an inspection.
Contact the Automotive Lift Institute, your lift supplier, or a local lift inspection company for a copy of the 20-minute Lifting it Right video hosted by legendary NASCAR driver Richard "The King" Petty and his son, Kyle. Require your technicians to watch the video and pass a written test on lift operation and safety.