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Hydraulic Lift Safety

Hydraulic Lifts are used by thousands and thousands of people every day. While this type of equipment can save tremendous time and effort, it also poses risks if not operated properly. If you use any type of hydraulic at home or work, you should know the safety tips and then ensure everyone using the equipment has been educated as well.

First, you should always inspect hydraulic parts on a regular basis. This one aspect of a hydraulic lift can easily be overlooked but unfortunately, if not maintained properly or adjusted when necessary a person could be put at great risk for serious injury. Overall, anytime a hydraulic lift is being used, you should treat it as a powerful piece of equipment that it is. Remember, for a hydraulic lift to cause injury, it does not have to be operating. For example, even if the lift is shut down, the oil used can remain under intense pressure.

Another valuable tip in keeping you and workers safe is to color code or label all controls, no matter where they are located. Something as simple as a color or label can mean the different between someone being hurt or staying safe. This simple step takes minutes to do and can offer great benefit.

If you plan to have your hydraulic serviced, you should follow these easy steps:
  • Make sure the hydraulically powered attachments are lowered to the ground first. If not, then at set the attachments on blocks or metal stands to ensure they are given proper support.
  • Always check that the engine powering the hydraulic pump is turned off
  • To help release pressure, move the hydraulic lever back and forth a couple of times
  • To make sure the hydraulic lift cannot be started while being repaired, you want to lock out the levers along with the power switches
  • Next, once the system is shut off, allow it time to cool down
  • Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, considering that procedures for operation and maintenance can vary dramatically from one manufacturer to another
  • If you suspect that the lift has an oil leak, simply place a piece of cardboard box over the area to see if anything leaks out
  • Your hydraulic lift should never be stored near flames or sparks
  • If you experience a spill, be sure it is cleaned up right away
  • Never smoke in the auto body area of the lift
  • Another important tip is to make sure anyone operating the hydraulic lift has been thoroughly and properly trained
  • Keep the lift in an area where no unauthorized people can get near
  • Check the pressure of the lift to make sure it does not exceed the level recommended by the manufacturer
  • Use the hydraulic lift only for its intended purpose
  • Regularly check pistons for dirt, unusual wear, or any type of damage
  • Check the fastener tightness and be sure the hoist is properly lubricated
  • Every two months, take time to check the hydraulic lift fluid levels
  • If you notice any damaged parts, replace them immediately, using only replacement parts recommended by the manufacturer
  • Be sure anyone performing repair work is certified and licensed to do so
  • Keep the lift area clean, ensuring there are no boxes, hoses, wires, tools, and so on sitting around
  • Check that the vehicle weight does not exceed the hydraulic lift capacity
  • Be sure to check the lifting points, checking also for damage, leaking oil, or rust
If you notice any of the following, DO NOT use the lift but contact a professional to repair:
  • Jerks or jumps when raised
  • Raises extremely fast
  • Settles down very slowly after being raised
  • Comes down extremely slow
  • Leaks oil at the connections
  • Oil is blown out at the exhaust line
  • Slowly rises, whether in use or not in use

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