In recent years, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has become aware of a disturbing trend in the vehicle repair industry when working with garage equipment.
In the 5 years to March 2022, 21 workers were killed while working on vehicles. More than half of these fatalities were caused by vehicles that were not properly supported, resulting in crushing accidents. Since April 2022, the HSE has become aware of another 4 cases of vehicle repair workers being crushed to death by an incorrectly supported vehicle.
The HSE has issued a warning to all mechanics to never work under a vehicle that is only supported on jacks. Instead, it is recommended to use axle stands that are in good condition, inspected every year, and securely located under a strong point on the vehicle. Wheels must also be chocked to prevent movement.
Furthermore, it is crucial to prop cabs, trailers, etc before working underneath them. If there is no prop fitted or if one is fitted but you are unsure of its effectiveness, you must provide your own prop. Crawling under a vehicle fitted with air suspension is also dangerous unless it is properly supported. Movement of air suspension must be prevented by using suitably rated props or stands, or by deflating the system.
Two-post vehicle lifts are another hazard to be aware of. Mechanics must ensure that safe operating procedures are followed when lifting vehicles. The lifting arms must be carefully positioned, the arm locks must be in good condition, and lifting pads must be in good condition and of the proper size. The vehicle must be secure by lifting it to about a metre and rocking it to confirm that the lifting pads are positioned correctly.
Keeping Mechanics and Garage Equipment Operators Safe
The HSE specifically highlighted that 2 post vehicle lifts pose a serious hazard to workshop technicians and garage workers. Commercial workshops and garages should consider replacing 2 post lifts with safer alternatives, such as 4 post vehicle lifts which have several more safety benefits, including increased stability and a lower risk of the vehicle tipping over.
4 post vehicle lifts can handle heavier loads, making them suitable for larger vehicles like trucks or buses and have the ability to store a vehicle on the lift for extended periods of time, which can be useful for long-term maintenance projects. Making the switch to a 4 post vehicle lift can not only improve safety in the workshop or garage, but also increase productivity and efficiency for vehicle maintenance tasks.
Installing an inspection pit can offer many safety benefits if space permits. An inspection pit provides complete access to the underside of the vehicle, which is essential for carrying out detailed inspections and repairs. Mechanics can work on various parts of the vehicle simultaneously, such as examining the brakes and suspension ultimately increasing productivity while saving space at the same time since no dedicated lift bay is required unlike with a vehicle lift.
Moreover, an inspection pit is also an economical purchase compared to maintaining regular repairs for a lift due to its one-time investment quality – however care must be taken during installation as well as regular upkeep – which makes having a maintenance contract vital in guaranteeing safety standards within commercial garages or workshops.
The Importance of Garage Equipment Maintenance Contracts
This cautionary report from the HSE emphasises how necessary it is for commercial garage owners or operators have valid maintenance contracts in place so they remain compliant with regulations while keeping equipment running smoothly preventing failures risks associated with incorrect servicing .
Maintenance contracts ensure that commercial garage equipment, such as inspection pits, lifts, and brake testers, are regularly inspected and repaired when necessary. This helps to prevent equipment failure and reduces the risk of accidents. A well-maintained inspection pit, for example, will have a secure grate that prevents mechanics from falling in and getting trapped.
At Everquip, we understand the importance of safety of those working with commercial garage equipment. We offer a range of commercial garage equipment, including inspection pits, vehicle lifts, and brake testers, as well as providing maintenance contracts to ensure that garage equipment is always in good working condition.
Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.