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UK Vehicle Lift Regulations – What you need to know

As an employer or self-employed person using vehicle lifts, you must ensure that your equipment is safe. The legal requirements in the UK, and all its jurisdictions, are covered by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

These regulations apply to all lifting equipment provided for use or used by an employee at work. They therefore cover all types of vehicle lift and car lift including scissor lift, single post lift, 2 post car lifts and 4 post car lifts. The regulations also cover the use and safety of any mobile car lift, hydraulic lifts and all other forms of vehicle lift including both mobile and in-ground lifting installations.

What does the law require?

  1. Car lifts (including lifting accessories) must undergo a regular thorough examination by a competent person.
  2. All supplementary inspections and tests recommended by the competent person must be carried out within the stated timescale.

What is a thorough examination?

A thorough examination is a systematic and detailed examination of the lifting equipment by a competent person to detect any defects that are, or might become, dangerous.

Who is a ‘Competent Person’?

A competent person would usually be an employee of a vehicle lift supplier or specialist equipment maintenance company who should:

  • have enough knowledge and experience of vehicle lifts to detect defects, wear or weaknesses, and assess how important they are in relation to the safety and continued use of the equipment.
  • not be the same person who performs routine maintenance.  
  • be sufficiently independent and impartial to make objective decisions.

How often must vehicle lifts be thoroughly examined? 

All lifts must be examined:

  •  before first use and every 6 months thereafter (HSE803/69).
  •  following ‘exceptional circumstances’, e.g. if a lift is damaged or fails, is out of use for long periods, or if there is a major change in how it is used which is likely to affect its integrity.

Are thorough examinations the same as routine maintenance?

No. Routine maintenance is intended to ensure the equipment continues to operate as intended, and risks associated with wear or deterioration are avoided.

Thorough examination may indicate areas of poor maintenance, but is not intended to replace it. You should not wait for the results of a thorough examination before carrying out maintenance on your lifting equipment. Maintenance is a requirement under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and applies to all work equipment including vehicle lifts.

Do I need to keep records?  

Yes, you must keep records of all thorough inspections for all of your vehicle lifting equipment.

Type of inspection

How long to keep records

Thorough examination before first use

Vehicle lifts – until the employer ceases to use the vehicle lifting equipment. Vehicle lifting accessories – for two years.

In-service 6 monthly thorough examination

Two years


What happens if defects are found?

  • If a defect is found which is or could become a danger to people, the competent person will tell you immediately and confirm this in their report.
  • If the competent person discovers a defect that involves an existing or imminent risk of serious personal injury, they must tell you immediately and send a copy of the report to the relevant enforcing authority (HSE or the local authority), even if the defects are remedied immediately.
  • You must take action to rectify any defect you are told about. If you are notified of a serious and significant defect, you must immediately take the lift out of service until the defect has been put right. If you do not, you will be breaking the law.
  • For defects that need to be rectified within a certain timescale, you must repair or replace the defective equipment within the specified time, and not use it unless the defect has been satisfactorily put right.

What happens if you are non-compliant?  

If you do not have current Vehicle Lift Thorough Examination Certificates for each lift then you are breaking the law and exposed to serious consequences, particularly if an accident occurs.

Who to contact for a thorough examination?

All major lift suppliers provide periodic inspections meeting Lift Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. Some suppliers, including Boston Garage Equipment will work on most brands of vehicle lifts and stock parts, accessories, cables etc.

Keeping track of equipment inspection dates with Equipment Manager Software from Boston

To help you keep track of equipment inspection dates, Boston Garage Equipment has created a completely free desktop application, or Equipment Manager Software, that provides inspection and calibration due date information, and alerts for workshop equipment of any type, make or model.

This easy to install equipment management software is available, gratis, in a free Equipment Manager download from Boston Garage Equipment.

For any help and advice in both safely and legally maintaining your vehicle lifts, associated lifting equipment and accessories, contact us today with your questions and we will do our best to assist you.

Please Note: All information is correct at the time of publication. This article does not replace the need to check current legislation in force.

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