Health and safety officials are paying more attention than ever to risks in service bays, says Bob O'Gorman, president of the Automotive Lift Institute.
"This is in response to many factors," he wrote in an email. They include "an increase in employee personal-injury litigation, a flood of untested products flowing into the equipment marketplace, and the fact the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that thousands of workers are treated for injuries in shops each year."
Here is a summary of American National Standards Institute guidelines, as provided by the Automotive Lift Institute, an association of lift manufacturers, in Cortland, N.Y.
Certification and testing: Every in-stalled vehicle lift must be third-party tested and certified. All vehicle lifts must be inspected at least annually by a qualified lift inspector.
Training: Dealerships should be prepared to show documentation that all of their technicians have been trained on the proper use of lifts.
Maintenance: Every lift must have a documented maintenance plan. Inspectors will look for the plan and evidence that it is being followed.
Electrical compliance: All electrically powered equipment in the workplace is required to be third-party tested and listed to demonstrate compliance with national electrical safety requirements. It's not enough to have vehicle lifts that are CE (Europe) approved or carrying UL's Recognized Component label on the motor.
Locks: Any lift equipped with mechanical load-holding devices ("locks") should have the hydraulic pressure relieved and be resting on those devices before a technician goes under the vehicle to work. Unlike in some European markets, vehicle lift safety standards in North America require a mechanical load-holding device as part of the lift.