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Service Tech Killed in “Freak Accident” Involving Lift

December 13, 2017 0 Comments

An automotive service technician on Monday was killed when a vehicle he was working on fell off a lift and crushed him, WRIC reports.


The accident happened around 11 AM at Auto Repair El Flaco, in Richmond, Virginia.

The tech, identified as Hilmer Lopez, was pronounced dead shortly after first responders arrived on the scene.

“It’s a freak accident, but it’s a shame,” said Lester Gredy, Sr., who said he knew Lopez. “He was a really nice guy. Had his life ahead of him. He was a hard worker, you know? He was always here, every time I came up here, he was always here. It’s a shame.”

Proper lift operation and lift safety is crucial in automotive service departments. The Automotive Lift Institute offers lift safety classes, and recently updated its “Lifting It Right” online training course. The course outlines safe lifting practices for all types of automotive lifts, and is now offered in both Spanish and English.

Here are ALI’s top 11 safety tips for operating automotive lifts:

  • Inspect your lift daily. Never operate if it malfunctions or if it has broken or damaged parts. Repairs should be made with original equipment parts.
  • Operating controls are designed to close when released. Don’t block open or override them.
  • Never overload your lift. Manufacturer’s rated capacity is shown on name-plate affixed to the lift.
  • Positioning of vehicle and operations of the lift should be done only by trained and authorized personnel.
  • Never raise vehicle with anyone inside it. Customers or bystanders should not be in the lift area during operation.
  • Always keep lift area free of obstructions, grease, oil, trash, and other debris.
  • Before driving vehicle over lift, position arms and supports to provide unobstructed clearance. Do not hit or run over lift arms, adapters, or axle supports. this could damage lift or vehicle.
  • Load vehicle on lift carefully. Position lift supports to contact at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended lifting points. Raise lift until supports contact vehicle. Check supports for secure contact with vehicle. Raise lift to desired working height.
    CAUTION: If you are working under vehicle, lift should be raised high enough for locking device to be engaged.
  • Note that with some vehicles, the removal for installation of components may cause a critical shift in the vehicle’s center of gravity, and result in raised vehicle instability. Refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s service manual for recommended procedures when vehicle components are removed.
  • Before lowering lift, be sure tool trays, stands, etc., are removed from under vehicle. Release locking devices before attempting to lower lift.
  • Before removing vehicle from lift, position lift arms and supports to provide an unobstructed exit.

Vehicle lifts are only one of many innate safety hazards in a dealership’s service department. What steps do you take to ensure your techs are safe while doing their jobs?

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