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BendPak two post vehicle lifts – safety issues relating to locking mechanisms

Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert
Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert
Department Name: Field Operations Division
Bulletin No: FOD1-2018
Issue Date: 28 November 2018
Target Audience: All users of BendPak two-post vehicle lifts, Motor vehicle repair and associated industries, Suppliers
Key Issues:
  • There are up to 1700 or more BendPak two post vehicle lifts in use throughout Britain with potential faults
  • The lifts present a serious risk of a vehicle falling from the hoist with the potential of causing death or serious injury
  • Evidence obtained during an on-going investigation of a fatal incident has revealed concerns with the design, manufacture and supply of the BendPak two-post lifts
  • All users of BendPak two-post vehicle lifts should check the arm restraint gear on their lift and, if affected, take immediate action to replace

Introduction:

An investigation into the death of a motor vehicle mechanic, following a car falling from a two-post vehicle lift, has identified a serious risk. Investigations found that the arm locking mechanism of the BendPak two-post lift did not prevent the vehicle from falling.

This safety alert is aimed at users of BendPak two-post vehicle lifts to prevent the situation being repeated, and causing further serious injury or death.

Anyone using the BendPak two-post lift should act now. Users should check the arm restraint gear on their lift and, if affected, take immediate action to replace parts as detailed below.

An unknown number of BendPak two-post vehicle lifts have been supplied with arm restraint gears which allow complete disengagement from the arm locking mechanism, located on the carriage of the vehicle lift.

Also, in some of the lifts, the arm restraint gears are manufactured from a material that is insufficient to withstand the forces which satisfies the testing required by the harmonised standards relating to vehicle lifts. The current standard is BS EN 1493:2010.

The manufacturer has now redesigned the arm restraint gear. The new design is a machined part using a grade of steel which was found to be suitable when tested by the manufacturer. The gears now have circular rather than oval holes and a wider cross section which prevents disengagement. 

Lifts which have not been supplied with this re-designed part still present a serious risk.

Action required:

Users of BendPak two-post lifts should:

1. Check

Users should check whether their arm restraint gear appears substandard. Lifts not supplied with the re-designed part will have arm restraint gears with:

Note

If checks show that there is lateral movement in the arms then the lift should not be used again until the necessary replacement parts are fitted. As a temporary measure, it may be possible to continue to use the lift prior to replacement if a competent person has confirmed that the gears are fully meshed and regular checks are being carried out.

2. Replace

If the lift does not have the newly designed arm restraint gear take immediate action to replace it.

Users should contact their supplier, or the manufacturer, to get replacement parts. The gears should be steel, machined with circular holes. They should sit properly against the pin that the arm swings on without visible clearance.

BendPak have provided a video which demonstrates how this replacement can be carried out by a competent person.

3. Thorough examination by a competent person

Users should make sure that the lift is thoroughly examined and tested after replacing the gear. This is required in law under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

4. Maintain

Anyone using two post vehicle lifts should inspect and maintain them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Background:

Vehicle lifts are used throughout the motor vehicle repair (MVR) industry, including tyre and exhaust fitting centres. Two-post lifts have gained popularity over the last 20 years (they now outsell more traditional four-post lifts by over 3 to 1) at least in part because they have become available at increasingly lower cost.

Two-post lifts were originally used mainly for inspection and routine servicing (oil, tyre and exhaust changes etc), but are now commonly used for major work activities (though four-post lifts are still required for MOT testing).

Problems with the design, installation, use and maintenance of arm locking mechanisms continue to cause concern in newer machinery. Further details are available within the document - Sector Information Minute 03/2008/12 "Defective locking devices identified on modern 2-post lifts"

Vehicle lifts, including two-post lifts should be designed and manufactured in accordance with the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. In particular, Schedule 2, Part 1 details the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) which should be followed. BS EN 1493:201 is a harmonised European Standard which can be used by manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with the EHSRs.

HSE’s Science Division  has carried out tests on one vehicle lift which was involved in a near miss incident when a vehicle fell from it. They applied horizontal loads to locked arms to check compliance with EN 1493 Section 5.8.5, which requires that arm-locking systems are designed to resist a force of 4.5 % of the capacity of the lift without permanent deformation, or to resist a force of 6.75 % of the capacity without breakage. The tests revealed that if the arm locking gears were only 75% engaged (e.g. 15 mm over 20 mm depth) there was a dramatic reduction in the load required to cause failure (from about 230kg to 50kg).

A horizontal load of 50 kg could easily be applied by a person working on the vehicle (e.g. using a tool to remove a tight bolt or changing a light box) and the weight of the vehicle can also induce a horizontal load if a support pad is not perpendicular to the jacking point.

Although there have only been a limited number of HSE Science Division tests to date, they indicate that full engagement of arm locking gears is crucial. Failure to ensure full engagement of the locking mechanism can result in a vehicle falling from the vehicle lift and if persons are in the vicinity result in fatal or life changing injuries.

The designers, manufacturers and suppliers of this equipment are reminded of their duties set out in the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and by Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have this equipment.

Relevant legal documents:

2018-11-28