No matter how you go about it, lifting a 10-tonne (or heavier) vehicle is serious business.
And despite all the rigorous testing and meticulous design that comes with 40 years of supplying our flagship Mobile Column Lifts, there’s one universal truth that applies to every workplace in the country:
A tool is only as safe as the person using it.
So to help you and your teams get to grips with the mobile column lift, we’ve put together the top 5 safety checks you need to know before you start lifting:
1. Set up a safe space
With a Mobile Column Lift, you’ve got the flexibility to raise vehicles exactly where you need them – in workshops, garages, or outdoor spaces.
And that flexibility and freedom is probably the reason you bought one. But it comes with extra responsibility – and you need to be sure you’re setting up your lifts in a position and environment that’s safe for you and your team.
So before you start using your mobile column lift, you need to choose a space that’s:
- On a strong surface – one that can support localised loads of 1.75N/mm
- On flat ground – with a maximum slope of 10.5mm per metre sideways, and 21mm per metre front-to-back (both measured in relation to the vehicle). At Totalkare, we recommend a maximum of 1 in 40.
- 100% floor – with no drains or manhole covers that could weaken the surface
- Free from overhead obstructions – such as hanging lights or pipework
- Surrounded by at least 1 metre of clear space on all sides – to give other vehicles (and people) plenty of room to move around.
2. Check your column lifts for damage
Just like any other kind of heavy machinery, vehicle lifts can eventually wear down over time – and the damage might not always be easy to spot at first glance.
Before you lift anything, give your mobile column lifts a thorough inspection, paying particular attention to:
- The joints between the different parts of each column lift
- The integrity of the welds between metals
- The tractive rollers on the outriggers
- And the adjustable wheel forks – or any small wheel adaptors you might be using
3. Always get an even distribution of weight
Unlike a fixed platform lift, a mobile column lift works by lifting from separate places that you arrange yourself. And that means you need to pay special attention to supporting the vehicle correctly to make sure it stays stable once it’s raised.
So before you start lifting, make sure you:
- Inflate the vehicle’s tyres properly (and evenly)
- Only ever lift with sets of 4, 6, or 8 columns (depending on the vehicle)
- Only position the column lifts to the places recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer – these are often the front and rear axles, but there are exceptions
- Set the adjustable wheel forks (or adaptors) so they’re at equal distances from the centre of the column lift
- And be wary as you make changes to the vehicle and its parts – as this could affect the stability
4. Take extra care when the lifts are moving
Our mobile column lifts are designed with safety as a priority. But no matter how safe your equipment is, there’s always some risk when you’ve got 10 tonnes of metal in motion.
So while you should always be alert at every stage of using a column lift, you need to be especially vigilant when you’re raising or lowering your vehicle.
In particular, you need to check for:
- Other workers moving around you (don’t let your colleague take a sneaky shortcut under the vehicle!)
- Any movement or changes in support to the vehicle and its wheels
- The sound of the mechanical locks from the column lift as it raises
- Any obstructions in the space above while lifting
- Any forgotten items in the space below when lowering (especially any tools or equipment you might have left behind)
- And the sound of the buzzer as the vehicle approaches the floor (watch your toes!)
5. Switch off the lifts when they’re not being used
With your vehicle raised on the lifts, you might think you’re ready to get to work. But there’s one important last step to take before it’s safe to move closer to the undercarriage of the vehicle:
And that’s to isolate the power from the column lifts.
Without isolating the power, you’ll be working under a vehicle that’s ready to start moving at the press of a button – and you could be putting yourself at serious risk of harm.
If you’re using our T8DC or T8AC Column Lifts, you can isolate the power by turning the black circular mains switch on the side of the control panel to the ‘O’ position – or by pressing the red Emergency Stop button on the front of the panel.
Looking for help with your team’s safety?
Working with heavy machinery always comes with a risk. But with the right training, you can give your people the knowledge and experience they need to make your workshop as safe as it can possibly be.
Our CPD-certified online training programme can take your teams through the key learning, best practices and safety checks for the correct operation of mobile column lifts in the workplace – from video tutorials and instructional guides to multiple-choice tests across several different modules.