Article provided by Stertil-Koni
Following an in-depth review of municipal bus and truck maintenance facilities across North America, combined with heightened service demands resulting from the increased severity of weather events over the past decade, heavy-duty vehicle lift leader Stertil-Koni recommends 10 top tips to improve safety for the busy technicians working on the shop floor.
“With weather conditions shifting at a record pace, now is the time to plan for and advance your preventative maintenance strategies,” noted Peter Bowers, technical sales support manager at Stertil-Koni. “The advantages are compelling, especially in the form of heightened shop safety, prolonged vehicle life, reduced failures and breakdowns, and sustained maximum vehicle uptime.”
The need is quite pressing.
With so much riding on municipal vehicles and the maintenance personnel that service them, Stertil-Koni has developed 10 top tips for choosing a lift and the safe operation of HD vehicle lifts.
- Certification is significant: Consider purchasing lifts certified by the American Lift Institute. The ANSI/ALI ALCTV — current edition — is the standard for automotive lifts. This lift certification program makes it easy for buyers to choose lifts that meet all safety requirements for construction, testing and validation. The ALI gold label is the only guarantee that a lift has been independently tested to meet the highest industry safety standards.
- Lift choice and capacity: Know in advance the weight of the heaviest vehicle to be lifted and make certain that the lift selected is certified to meet or exceed that capacity. Also, confirm the height of the vehicle when raised on a lift is does not exceed the clear ceiling height.
- Learn the lift: Well-trained lift operators should know the lift’s use and abilities prior to powering up. Proper training ensures safe and efficient operation and prepares the user for an emergency situation. Keep a copy of the manufacturer’s lift operation and maintenance manual nearby at all times.
- Safety first: During lift setup, check the perimeter of the lift to confirm that nothing is vertically obstructing the vehicles path during lifting and there are no hazards in the lifting area. Lift the vehicle approximately 12 inches off the ground, then pause and do another sweep of the area to further check that there are no impediments.
- Stability is key: Always place lifts on a firm foundation and on level ground. This is especially important with mobile column lifts — as they can be easily relocated for operation both inside and outside of the maintenance shop. When outside, check for wind loads. Further, select a lift with an “electronic synchronization” system. As the lift goes into motion and continues through the full-range up to its maximum height, vehicles should rise smoothly, even those with unequal weight distribution, such as fire trucks and pumpers. Assure that the lifted vehicle itself is level.
- Adhere to proper lifting points: At all times use vehicle manufacturer’s designated lifting points. For inground lifts, operators should check that the contact adapters are properly positioned.
- Technician protection: Lift vehicles to a proper height so technicians can move about freely and comfortably underneath the vehicle. Verify lifts are in a locked position. Utilize support stands as required.
- Maintain a lift maintenance schedule: Make sure lifts receive annual inspections by a certified ALI lift inspector. Also, manufacturer-authorized technicians to service and repair your lifts.
- Create a culture of safety: Publicly and prominently post service bulletins, safety messages and continuously update the skills of all technicians. This is vital to a smooth-running maintenance facility.
- Accessorize your lift: Utilize lift accessories specifically designed to help ensure fleet maintenance operator safety and proper ergonomics. One example is a high lift wheel dolly, which allows wheel removal and proper alignment during installation of dual tire assemblies and brake drums to be completed efficiently and accurately, without back strain.
In conclusion, noted Dr. Jean DellAmore, Stertil-Koni USA president, “Safety is always mission No. 1 in the service bay. That is precisely why we suggest using a well-planned, safety-first approach so that shop technicians can perform their duties efficiently, ergonomically and with complete confidence. It also creates a positive workplace atmosphere, helps improve worker retention and contributes to greater longevity of the vehicles being serviced and the maintenance equipment the techs operate.”
Stertil-Koni is the market leader in heavy-duty vehicle lifts, notably bus lifts and truck lifts, and proudly serves municipalities, state agencies, school bus fleets, major corporations, the U.S. military and more. Stertil-Koni’s breadth of products meets all ranges of lifting needs and includes portable lifts such as mobile column lifts, two-post, four-post, inground piston lifts, platform lifts and its axle-engaging, inground, scissor lift configuration, ECOLIFT. The company’s innovative, inground telescopic piston DIAMONDLIFT is now available with an optional continuous recess system, ideal for low clearance vehicles. Stertil-Koni USA is headquartered in Stevensville, Md., with production facilities in Europe, the Netherlands and in Streator, Ill.