The safe operation of vehicle lifts: Part three

In the third and final part of this series the GEA looks at the process of maintaining and ensuring you meet your legal requirements

Published:  08 June, 2022

Here is a question we hear quite often: “I now have my new lift installed so I can start using it immediately, correct?” Actually, no. As a business you need to ensure you meet a number of conditions before handing it over to the mechanic to start using it for servicing vehicles.
The first thing you will need to do is have the lift inspected. This means a thorough examination by a ‘competent person’. This is a legal status, not just somebody who looks at the lift and says it looks okay to use.
This requirement comes under the Health & Safety Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulation (LOLER). The person who conducts the thorough examination must be independent of the installation process, so do not expect the installation engineer to complete this certification. You should check before buying your vehicle lift if the company supplying/installing your lift will be offering this service inclusive or if it is an optional extra. Otherwise, you will have to engage an independent inspector. Many business insurance policies for garages and workshops will include the thorough examination of lifting equipment by default. Again, check with your insurance provider before engaging an independent inspection.
Note: A thorough examination is not a one-time process. It needs to be conducted every six months to continue meeting LOLER requirements. This should not be confused with the maintenance of the lift that needs to be done/scheduled to meet the H&S Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulation (PUWER). We suggest you think of it like the cars you work on for your customers. Service work is oil/filters/ adjustments etc, while a thorough examination is like an MOT. It is an inspection/certification that proves the lift is safe to continue being used.

Risk assessment
The next step before using the lift is to complete your risk assessment for the operation of the lift. This may sound basic, but you should fully review the operation of the lift and note any potential hazards that could occur. This includes any controls/steps required to ensure the safe operation of the lift from the person operating to anybody else in the vicinity. The next step is to ensure you formally go over the operation of the vehicle lift with all users of the lift. This includes reviewing the risk assessment specifically covering what to do in case of an emergency/problem with the lift. Finally record everything, names date time etc and keep it in a safe place.
Going back to the maintenance for a moment, PUWER sets a legal requirement of the equipment owner to have in place a formal maintenance schedule for workplace equipment. We strongly recommend you contract a GEA member company to conduct your lift maintenance at regular intervals on your behalf to ensure your meeting your H&S requirements.
Note: the vehicle lift operator manual may offer specific regular preventive inspections on a Daily/weekly/ monthly basis, always check the manual/supplier’s guideline for this information to keep your lift safe and in top condition.
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