Safety in the Shop

Safety standards help to improve shop safety every day, whether they’re a part of tool and equipment design or a procedure for their use.

  • Inspect your lift daily. Don’t use a malfunctioning lift or one with broken or damaged parts. Repairs should be made with original equipment parts.
  • Operating controls are designed to close when released. Never block or override them.
  • Never overload your lift. Refer to the manufacturer’s rated capacity shown on the nameplate affixed to the lift.
  • Vehicle positioning and lifting should only be performed by personnel properly trained in the use of that specific lift.
  • Never raise a vehicle with anyone inside it. Customers or bystanders should not be allowed in the lifting area during operation.
  • Keep lift area free of obstructions, grease, oil, trash and other debris.
  • Before positioning a vehicle on the lift, position the arms and supports to provide unobstructed clearance. Do not hit or drive over lift arms, adapters, or axle supports. This can damage the lift or vehicle.
  • Load the vehicle on the lift carefully. Position the lift supports so they contact the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended lifting points. First, raise the lift slowly until it supports the contact vehicle. Then, check the supports for secure contact. Finally, raise the lift to the desired working height. When lifting a vehicle, always make sure the lift locking devices engage.
  • Removing and installing some components can cause the vehicle’s center of gravity to shift, resulting in unstable lift loading. Refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s service manual for recommended procedures when removing and replacing vehicle components.
  • Before lowering the lift, be sure tool trays, stands, and so on are removed from underneath the vehicle. Release locking devices before lowering the lift.
  • Before removing the vehicle from the lift area, move the lift arms and supports out of the way to allow an unobstructed exit.

Q: After a lift is installed, what should we do to keep it in good operating condition?

A: First of all, each and every lift in your shop should be inspected at least once a year, or more often if specified by the manufacturer. The national standard that addresses automotive lift inspection, ANSI/ALI ALOIM (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Operation, Inspection, and Maintenance of Automotive Lifts,” should be followed by the company performing the inspection. The standard encompasses guidance for the owner, employer, and lift service and inspection provider related to required qualifications, training, reporting and documentation for operators, inspectors and maintenance personnel. To promote compliance with the standard, sample forms and checklists are included.


Q: Is our shop required to keep a listing of different chemicals we use?

A: Yes, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires that each business maintain a collection of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) information on site. You should take a few minutes to review the MSDS information for the products that you use regularly so you’re aware of both personal and business-related environmental, health and safety responsibilities. MSDS sheets contain information about products that present health-related exposures, their proper use and the personal protection needed when working with each product. In addition to telling emergency medical staff what to do, an MSDS also advises you on how to protect yourself and how to administer emergency first aid.


Q: We’d like to promote the safe use of hand tools to get our younger techs up to speed quicker and to reduce chances of injuries. Where can we turn to?

A: The Hand Tools Institute (HTI) works to promote hand tool safety and standards in the service industry. As part of their accomplishments, HTI has worked collaboratively with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to establish and promote no less than fifteen different safety standards related to hand tools. While the standards themselves impact behind-the-scenes elements of hand tool design, what’s really helpful to you would be the various products offered by HTI promoting hand tool safety. HTI offers at least ten safety training products ranging from a “Using Hand Tools Safely” brochure to a “Guide to Hand Tools.” For more information about HTI and to order training information, go to

Remember, everyone in your shop is a stakeholder when it comes to staying out of harm’s way. Incorporate good safety measures in everything you do so they become imbedded in your daily operations. You’ll cut the chances of an accident, while improving productivity along the way.

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