Don't Let Inspector Clouseau Near Your Vehicle Lifts

All lift inspectors are not created equal.

Dec 15th, 2009

Rotary Lift Helps Customers Find Qualified Lift Inspectors

All lift inspectors are not created equal. Considering that the safety and productivity of your technicians ride on your lifts, you want only a qualified lift inspector to make sure the equipment is functioning properly. But how do you know if you're getting Sherlock Holmes instead of Inspector Clouseau?

Many state codes and regulations require that vehicle lifts be professionally inspected by "qualified lift inspectors" at least once a year. Although the ANSI national standard covering vehicle lift operation, maintenance and inspection, ANSI/ALI ALOIM-2008, defines minimum standards for "qualified lift inspectors," there are no national lift inspection licensing or certification programs.

"We understand that there is a need for independent vehicle lift inspection and that there currently are varying levels of lift inspector experience and qualification," says R.W. "Bob" O'Gorman, president of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), the independent trade association for the North American lift industry. "The association is currently working toward the development of a national program for lift inspection resources. But for now, it's a buyer-beware environment." ALI recommends contacting the lift manufacturer to find a qualified lift inspector.

At a minimum, in order to be considered "qualified" under the ANSI lift inspection standard, a lift inspector must meet the following requirements:

  1. Knowledge of personal safety practices necessary to perform routine and periodic inspections of existing equipment.
  2. Familiarity with industry terminology, including the terms defined and used in the ANSI/ALI ALCTV (current edition) lift safety standards.
  3. The ability to read and understand equipment manuals, drawings and parts lists.
  4. Knowledge of the purpose and function of all components, devices and accessories commonly employed on vehicle lifts.
  5. Working knowledge of electrical and electronic control circuit principles as applied to the operation of pumps, motors, valves and switches.
  6. Working knowledge of mechanical principles as applied to structures, machines, mechanisms and the effects of traction on wire ropes, chains and sheaves.
  7. Working knowledge of hydraulic principles as applied to the operation of valves, pumps, cylinders and piping.
  8. Working knowledge of pneumatic principles as applied to the operation of valves, compressors, cylinders, pressure vessels, air-bags, bellows and piping.
  9. Knowledge of the many and varied types and styles of vehicle lifts, their uses, and any limitations or restricted applications pertaining thereto.

Vehicle lift manufacturer Rotary Lift suggests that maintenance managers also ask representatives of any lift service and inspection company under consideration about the firm's lift inspection/maintenance experience, insurance coverage, OE parts availability and factory training.

"In the past, maintenance managers have had to roll the dice when choosing someone to inspect their lifts," says Ron Lainhart, Rotary Lift parts and service manager. "Unfortunately, there are people out there calling themselves 'lift inspectors' and performing lift inspections even though they do not meet the requirements outlined in the ANSI standard. But now, through Rotary Lift's new Inspect to Protect program, fleet maintenance managers need only to make a single phone call to be connected with qualified, local lift inspectors through the Rotary Authorized Installer (RAI) network."

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