The vehicle lift is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a vehicle service facility. It helps drive efficiency which translates to more revenue for the facility and in some cases directly to the technician’s pocket. Sometimes this can lead to overlooking the fact that it is a large piece of mechanical equipment that comes with some personal risk or damage to a vehicle if not used or maintained properly. The risk can be largely mitigated by putting vehicle lift safety steps into place. These steps include:
- Quality of the product
- Understanding the Product and its Limitations
- Safety Checks
- Annual Lift Inspections
Quality of Product
When putting in a new lift into your facility, it is important to consider
- Who is manufacturing this lift. Are they a reputable company known for making a quality product in the industry.
- What certifications does the lift have? The industry standards to look for are ALI and ANSI. These should be highlighted in the lifts description and prominently displayed on the lift.
- Consider the warranty. Is the company willing stand behind the product?
We are not saying that you need to buy the most expensive lift, but just make sure you are considering where it comes from and how it is made. There are a lot of options to pick from.
A lift will only function safely and efficiently if it is installed correctly. You need to be aware that the lift is
- Being installed in the proper concrete depth specified by the manufacturer
- Anchored the proper distance from major cracks or seams
- Columns leveled properly, so the vehicle is lifting evenly
- Components are tightened or torqued to manufacturers specs
If the lift is not installed as intended by the manufacturer, there is risk to the safety of the tech and if anything goes wrong with warranty may be void due to improper installation. Using a factory authorized installer typically extends the product’s warranty and maximizes safety.
Understanding the Product and its Limitations
After your new lift is installed it is important that anyone operating the lift has an understanding of how it operates and the functions of its components. You should
- Review lifts operations manual and keep it on hand to reference when needed
- Make sure the operator has understanding of the lift was designed to pick up and the total lifting capacity
- Operate the lift a few time with out a vehicle until you are comfortable with its controls
- Study the lifts arms or saddle and adapters to make sure you understand how they will engage the lifting points on different types of vehicles.
Quick daily visual inspections prior to using the lift at the beginning your workday can help prevent small issues becoming large concerns. Things to look for are:
- Any drips from hydraulic hoses
- Noticeable frays in equalizer cables
- Are the arm gears engaging?
- Lifting adapters and pads are not damaged
- Anchors nuts are fully threaded
Every piece of equipment at one point or another will have issues that will need to be diagnosed and addressed in order to keep it functioning properly. Make sure you:
- Have a service provider you can trust who will send an experienced technician in a timely manner.
- Call service provider at the first sign of an issue to prevent small problems becoming large expensive ones
- Provide the lift type and model number to the service provider when you call, so they can bring what they might need and prevent multiple visits
Annual Lift Inspection
The benefits of having your lifts inspected annually is:
- Preventative Safety measure
- Compliance with recommended OSHA Regulations
- Compliance with Insurance
- Catching and repairing small issues before they become large costly
By putting these Six steps or principles in effect you can have a vehicle lift safety plan put in place that will create a safer working environment, extend the life the equipment and keep you in compliance with OSHA and your insurance company.
Have any questions? Contact us to discuss!