Two main factors influence lift safety: the operator and the equipment.
Only trained and authorized people should position vehicles and operate the lift. Even though manufacturers design lift technology with safety in mind, user error, rushing and carelessness can create dangerous, even deadly, mishaps.
Though very engaged with employee safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) agency does not have specific standards that apply to the users of automotive lifts.
Its general position is that an employer has an obligation to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Lifts are included, but not addressed specifically.
For vehicle lift safety guidance, OSHA refers people to the ANSI/ALI ALOIM: 2008 “Standard for Automotive Lifts - Safety Requirements for Operation, Inspection and Maintenance” as the industry recognized consensus standard for safely operating automotive lifts.
The lifting equipment itself needs daily inspection, frequent maintenance and annual formal inspection. Properly trained technicians should inspect the lift daily before use, looking for cracks, damage and wear of the equipment.
This includes checking the cables, lift pads, adapters, sheaves, welds joints, bolts and even the concrete floor to check for cracks or weakness around the anchoring floor bolts.