A-2.6 Vehicle Maintenance Equipment

Reprinted with permission of Public Works, April 1994

Lifts. The necessary inclusion of vehicle lifts in public works garages often requires municipalities to choose between in-ground and above-ground units. Service pits and in-ground lifts require excavations and consequently fall under the jurisdiction of Federal and state regulatory agencies, such as OSHA and the EPA. OSHA requires that the pit be shored so it will be safe to work around; EPA has become increasingly involved with in-ground installations because of the lift’s susceptibility to leakage. Also, once a pit system is installed, OSHA requires an extensive ventilation system be installed. Explosion-proof wiring must be used on any lighting or electrical equipment. A drainage system of raised flooring is needed if any water is present in the excavation. The pit must be covered or surrounded by a guard rail when not being used. Maintenance in an in-ground system can require substantial downtime.

With above-ground lifts, however, a complete system can be set up and operational in hours. Servicing can continue with no downtime, and vehicles are quickly and easily loaded onto the system, which requires less precise positioning than in-ground systems. Also, with no in ground posts to get in the way, above ground lifts feature unrestricted access to the undercarriage.

The Automotive Lift Institute’s (ALI) Lift Certification Program promotes safety in manufacture and design of lifts. The ALI has contracted with ETL Testing Laboratories, a nationally recognized testing lab, to test and verify that lifts meet ANSI standards. Lifts that meet the ANSI standards will receive the ALI/ETL Lift Certification Label, testifying to their safety.