How to use a 2-Post Lift Safely | Workshop Safety Guide

How to use a 2-Post Lift Safely | Workshop Safety Guide

1. Correctly load and position the vehicle

Ensure the vehicle lift is suitable for the vehicle. Try to identify the vehicle´s centre of gravity - this will differ depending on whether it is front or rear-wheel drive. For rear-wheel drive vehicles, this point is usually just behind the front seats. For front-wheel vehicles, this lies further forward.

When placing the vehicle on the lift, you will need to ensure the vehicle is properly balanced - do this by shortening or extending its telescopic arms.

Depending on the size and type of the vehicle being lifted, you will either be using a symmetric or an asymmetric lift. Symmetric lifts are used to lift larger vehicles like vans, as they have 4 arms of equal length, whereas asymmetric lifts are more suited to lifting lighter cars, and they have short arms to the front and long arms to the rear to enable the driver’s door to be opened. Symmetric and Asymmetric lifts require different loading procedures.


Asymmetric arm loading guide

  • Position the vehicle so that the lift posts are in line with the “A” Pillar
  • Position each lift pad under the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended lifting points.
  •  If the height of the vehicle lift pads do not engage with the pick-up points, do not improvise with wooden blocks or other equipment. Only adjust the height of the lift pad with approved pad extensions supplied by the lift manufacturer.
  • Raise the vehicle so that all wheels are just clear of the floor.
  • Check the position of the lifting pads and arms to ensure they have not moved - make sure all 4 arm locks are engaged.
  • Rock the vehicle as a final check to ensure it is stable, then raise the vehicle to the desired height.


Symmetric arm loading guide

  • Position the vehicle so that both posts are in-line with the centre of the vehicle.
  • Continue as with asymmetrical lift


2. General Working Practices

Whilst there are specific operating guidelines with specific lifts, there are some general guidelines which should be adhered to when operating 2-Post lifts.

  • Never allow anyone to stand on or under a lift or in a vehicle whilst it is being operated.
  • Never exceed the safe working load - this should be displayed on the side of the lift.
  • When work is finished on the vehicle lift, or at the end of the day, always fully lower the lift and turn the lift off.
  • If you are unsure of the safety of the lift, do not use it - get it checked by a competent person.

3. Daily Checks

Emphasis should be placed on the importance of daily checks, at the start of the day. Your daily check list includes:

  1. Check for any damage / leaks
  2. Ensure the lift pads / support are in a serviceable condition and clean
  3. Ensure all arm lock mechanism operate satisfactorily
  4. Check that all controls operate
  5. Check all chains, ropes, rollers and carriage pins are lubricated
  6. Check all nuts and bolts are tightened (including floor anchor bolts)
  7. Check lubrication systems are topped up

If you notice any problems during a check, ensure your technicians know the procedure to report and take precautionary measures and do not use the lift until they are addressed.


4. Protect your equipment and technicians with a vehicle lift maintenance programme.

Biannual inspections are advised by the HSE, whilst the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations state that thorough annual inspections are compulsory under law. Whilst a regular service program is not compulsory it is highly recommended. These can be scheduled in advance of Insurance visits or after to deal with any defects which may occur and generate costly downtime.

 5. Keep technicians informed

Weve produced a handy downloadable 1 page reminder highlighting the key points to using a vehicle lift safely. These can be printed and placed in the workshop as a regular reminder to operatives. 

Straightset are specialists in workshop vehicle lifts. We supply, install and service many different types of vehicle lift. We also offer training for workshop operatives. For further details please contact us on or call 01909 480055