Raising vehicles with a jack can be hazardous if not done correctly. People have suffered serious injury or been crushed to death through inappropriate use of a vehicle jack. Always make sure you follow the operating instructions.
A vehicle jack is a device designed to raise a car, caravan or trailer. The mandatory safety standard for vehicle jacks covers:
- hydraulic jacks
- lever jacks
- pantograph (scissor) jacks
- screw jacks
- caravan and trailer jacks
- high lift jacks.
Risks and injuries
People have been crushed to death or severely injured when they have not used jacks, support stands or ramps properly.
An average of 160 injuries are associated with vehicle jacks each year. Injuries have ranged from amputation to fractures and crush injuries. Most of the deaths were men and involved the vehicle being lifted or supported in the wrong way. Home mechanics are most at risk of this type of death or injury.
- Check the jack meets the relevant mandatory safety standard.
- Ensure you get the correct jack for the job.
- If you're buying second-hand, check that the jack is in good condition, in good working order and meets the mandatory standard. Also check that safe use, operating and maintenance instructions are supplied.
- Ensure the maximum load capacity is enough to support the vehicle you are lifting. Never exceed the weight capacity of the jack.
- Use the jack on firm and level ground wherever possible.
- Always follow the vehicle owner's manual for lifting points before jacking the vehicle.
Never get under or place any part of your body under a car that is being supported by a jack. Use vehicle support stands.
Never allow a person or pet to remain in the vehicle while it is being jacked.