HSE MVR eBulletin: Mechanics warned of the life-threatening dangers of working under vehicles

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HSE ebulletin

Mechanics warned of the life-threatening dangers of working under vehicles

Since April 2022, HSE has become aware of another 4 cases of motor vehicle repair workers being crushed to death by an incorrectly supported vehicle.

HSE has issued a press release to highlight this important issue.


HSE's figures show that:

  • 21 workers in the motor vehicle repair industry have been killed in the 5 years to March 2022
  • More than half of these deaths (13) were caused when work took place under a vehicle that wasn’t properly supported

These incidents keep happening, so it is crucial the correct equipment is used when working under vehicles:


Never work beneath a vehicle that is only supported on jacks:

  • Use axle stands that are in good condition and inspected every year
  • Use stands on firm, level ground and securely located under a strong point on the vehicle
  • Securely chock wheels remaining on the ground
  • Do not exceed the rated capacity of the stand

Never work beneath a cab or tipping trailer unless it is propped:

  • Always prop cabs, trailers etc. that could drop under their own weight
  • The prop should be locked in position before gaining access
  • If there is no prop fitted, or if one is fitted but you are unsure it will be effective, provide your own

Never crawl beneath a vehicle fitted with air suspension unless it is properly supported:

  • Prevent movement of air suspension, either by using suitably rated props or stands to prevent the chassis lowering or by deflating the system
  • Don’t tamper with the ride height for the purpose of recovery or repair

Risk of vehicles falling off two-post vehicle lifts

It is critical that safe operating procedures are followed when lifting vehicles using two-post vehicle lifts.

There have been fatal incidents where vehicles have fallen from this type of lift and crushed mechanics working below.


When using two-post vehicle lifts:

  • Make sure employees evenly balance the lift for different types of vehicle (i.e. varying the position according to its centre of gravity and the lift type)

  • Ensure the lifting arms are carefully positioned at the correct jacking/lifting points for the vehicle (check the vehicle manufacturer’s information if necessary)

  • Check that the arm locks show no signs of damage or deterioration to their locking teeth and that they engage fully as the vehicle is lifted

  • Ensure lifting pads are in good condition and use proper pad extensions where required, not blocks of wood. Appropriate adaptors should be used where lifting points are obscured e.g. by cosmetic skirting, undertrays etc.

  • Check the vehicle is secure by lifting to about a metre, confirming the lifting pads are positioned correctly, and then rocking the vehicle

  • You should consider the effect on the stability of the vehicle caused by the removal of major components (e.g. gearbox, engine etc.) or by the application of forces using tools (e.g. forcing off rusted on bolts). These can cause the vehicle to shift on the support pads and the vehicle to fall from the vehicle lift. Such work should preferably be carried out using a four-post lift, but if a two-post lift has to be used, use additional supports such as vehicle props.

Guidance and further information

HSE has further information on our website, including:


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