What's Riding on Your Lifts?

Lifts must be maintained and inspected regularly to ensure safety.


“The Inspector Certification Program provides the end user with confidence that the inspection completed on their lifts is complete and thorough,” says Todd Michalski, vice president sales and marketing for lift manufacturer Gray Manufacturing Co., Inc. “There are a lot of companies in the market that currently inspect lifts that may or may not have the expertise needed. This helps the marketplace easily identify those that do!”

Becoming certified requires commitment. Candidates must attend an orientation workshop, study the candidate handbook and pass a pre-course exam; study extensive course training materials and pass the course examination; perform 12 practical experience (i.e., real world) lift inspections using approved forms, and submit appropriate paperwork. The inspection company also must establish quality assurance procedures and successfully complete an Initial Compliance Audit of this system. After certification is achieved, participation in continuing education webinars and quality audits is required to maintain Certified Lift Inspector status.

The end result is a pool of lift inspectors that shop owners can trust.

“The ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program provides peace of mind to shop owners, reduces accidents and improves employee confidence in their equipment,” says Harold Yeo, president of lift manufacturer Total Lifting Solutions. “Ultimately this should result in increased throughput of vehicles being serviced.”

Inspection Points

What are Certified Lift Inspectors looking for when examining car and truck lifts? The ANSI standard provides five pages of inspection points, including:

  • Examining all accessible structural components, including welds, for any evidence of overloading, misuse or abuse.
  • Examining electrical components and wiring.
  • Checking the lift controls to ensure accessibility, an unobstructed view of the lift and an automatic return to the neutral or off position when released.
  • Locating appropriate lift documentation, safety instructions, vehicle lifting information, lift safety labeling and capacity labeling.
  • Confirming adequate clearances around the lift.
  • Checking all fastening devices for tightness and proper fit.
  • Checking the lowering speed over the full down travel of the lift.
  • Operating the lift through its full cycle and checking the operation of the positive stop. Checking to see if the lift locks engage in the fully extended position.
  • Checking all lubrication points for cleanliness, integrity of fitting and presence of lubricant.
  • Checking all chains and cables for excessive slack.
  • Checking all potential pinch points.

The standard is just the starting point. Every lift manufacturer should provide specific directions for inspecting each of its lifts. ALI Certified Lift Inspectors are qualified to inspect any brand or model of vehicle lift.

“During the inspection, the inspector is looking to confirm that all of the lift’s components are in place and in working order,” explains Bob Ford, customer service manager for Rotary Lift. “The inspector is looking at more than just the lift, though. The inspector will survey the lift bay and shop to look for any potential hazards. He or she might make recommendations for other areas of the shop, even though the focus is on the lift.”

At the conclusion of the inspection, the lift inspector should provide a written inspection certificate for each lift to the shop owner or manager. This report documents the results of the inspection, including any recommendations for repair. (ALI Certified Lift Inspectors are instructed not to undermine the program integrity by offering to perform any recommended repairs.) Certified Lift Inspectors will apply an ALI Annual Lift Inspection Label to each lift that passes inspection. This label includes the Inspector’s unique identification number and the date, making it easy for code enforcement officials to quickly ascertain when a lift was last inspected successfully. The labels also serve as a convenient reminder of when a lift is due for its annual inspection.

Safety Starts with You

In addition to annual lift inspections conducted by qualified lift inspectors, most lift manufacturers recommend that lift operators themselves inspect their lifts on a more frequent basis. Recommendations vary from daily to monthly to quarterly, depending on lift style, frequency of use and environment. Check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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