Recently I took part in the Kidney Kar Rally. Plant Assessor has committed to the 2018 Rally, which coincidentally is the 30th anniversary of the event.
We have recently purchased a 2001 Holden VU SS Ute (image above) to drive in next year’s event. As you can imagine there is quite a bit of suspension work required to get a relatively low sitting vehicle to an appropriate height to take part in an off road rally.
To allow me to complete this work I decided to buy a vehicle hoist. I did a bit of research and decided a two post was the machine for me and preferably one capable of lifting up to 4000kg.
I set about researching the machines available in Australia that met my requirements. I spoke with many retailers (most of whom are also the importer) asking them the relevant questions about safety, performance and build quality.
As with many other machines, either manufactured in or imported into Australia, I soon discovered that there were many machines available that did not meet all the requirements of the appropriate Australian Standard. Many machines had nearly all the required safety features however, none had them all.
In this case the relevant Australian Standards are:
AS1418.9:1996 Cranes (Including hoists and winches) – Vehicle Hoists
AS1418.1:2002 Cranes, hoists and winches – General Requirements
AS2550.9:1996 Cranes – Safe use – Vehicle Hoists
Bearing in mind that I was looking at a hydromechanical hoist, most had the following safety features:
Controlled lowering devices fitted to the hydraulic cylinders (not mandatory)
Support arm locks (vertically) (mandatory)
Self-locking support arms (laterally) (mandatory)
Emergency stop device (mandatory)
“Hold to run” (mandatory)
Labelled as to purpose (mandatory)
Interestingly the current Australian Standard (which is 21 years old) does not require controlled lowering devices, however it does require cylinder locking devices. Only one of the retailers that I contacted thought that they had cylinder locking devices fitted.
Quite a few also did not have an emergency stop fitted.
The machine I purchased had all the safety features required by the relevant Australian Standards except the cylinder locking device. Like many of the other machines available, my hoist does have a controlled lowering device fitted to each hydraulic cylinder. Both devices are often referred to as “burst valves” and indeed do both activate when a hydraulic burst occurs, the difference being that a controlled lowering device will allow the hoist to continue to the floor at a pre-set rate of descent whereas the cylinder locking device will stop all movement immediately.
Why would I buy a non-compliant machine? The answer is, I wouldn’t. Plant Assessor identified the issue pre-purchase. I helped the retailer in question understand the issue and the origins of the requirement. As a result I will be fitting a cylinder device to each of the hydraulic cylinders soon. The hydraulic engineers are busy sorting out the details.
In the meantime, I have had to implement administrative risk controls. This involves strict adherence to one simple rule, any time that the vertical locks are disengaged there must be nothing (people, tools, benches etc.) under the raised hoist.
This is another example where the supplier is unaware of the requirements detailed in an Australian Standard applicable to the machine they sell that Plant Assessor has helped identify and provide a solution. We continue to go ‘beyond the user manual’ to cross-check machinery specifications to the Australian standard. It’s in our blood!
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Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.