It’s easy to get complacent at any job. Day after day in a routine, there are many things you just do automatically. But when your job includes working under thousands of pounds of steel, complacency can put you in danger. Here’s a quick refresher of 10 tips to help you stay safe when using a car lift.
- Read the directions. You know how to use a car lift. We get it. But not all lifts are the same. When you get a new lift or start using a different one, take a few minutes to review the manual, safety stickers and other warnings. Make sure you understand how all the safety systems work.
- Only trained operators should use a lift. Never let someone who has not been properly trained operate any vehicle lift. For everyone’s safety, keep customers and untrained personnel away from the work area.
- Don’t invent your own lift uses or adapters. Lifts are professionally engineered to support their rated load capacity when vehicles are picked up as designed, using the adapters recommended by the lift manufacturer. Using the lift in other ways, like only lifting one end of a car or using wooden blocks instead of the OEM adapters, is asking for trouble.
- Keep your bay clean and well lit. Cluttered, dim work areas invite injuries.
- Never override self-closing lift controls. Most professional lifts have controls that will stop running if the operator lets go of them. This is an important safety feature designed to ensure the lift only moves when someone is at the controls to make sure the vehicle remains stable, no one and nothing enters the bay, and nothing else goes wrong. Don’t risk a car falling just so you can step away for 30 seconds.
- Always engage the safety locks/latches before getting to work. Review the manual for directions on how to place your lift on its mechanical load-holding devices (a.k.a. locks or latches) before going under it. On many lifts, you must raise the vehicle and then lower it onto the locks, releasing hydraulic pressure in the process. This keeps the lift from free-falling in case pressure is lost.
- Check over your lift. Make it part of your routine to regularly check your lift for damaged parts, components that are misaligned, worn out adapters or other areas of concern. Don’t use a lift if any component is broken or damaged.
- Take care of your equipment. Follow the maintenance and lubrication guidelines in your lift’s manual to keep the lift running as it should. Get it inspected annually by an ALI Certified Lift Inspector. And keep it clean, paying particular attention to controls and adapter surfaces that could become slippery.
- Keep it dry. To reduce the risk of electric shock, most lifts should not be used on wet surfaces or exposed to rain. They also should be grounded while in use.
- Protect yourself. Wear safety glasses. Stay alert, use common sense and pay attention to what you’re doing—and what the vehicle on the lift is doing. Put your safety first.
This Tech Tip was contributed by BendPak.