Lift Certification FAQ

Purchasers of automotive lifts are often confused by claims made by sellers. Such claims are sometimes made in good faith by inexperienced salesperson and other times they are made on purpose to confuse the purchaser and obtain an order for equipment that may not actually meet the purchaser’s specifications. This list of frequently asked questions will explain some of the claims put forth in this highly competitive market place. Thus the purchaser will have the knowledge to better evaluate claims and make an informed decision.

 

  • What is the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI)?
    • ALI Logo_Regular

      Founded in 1945, the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) is a trade association of North American-based lift manufacturers. ALI’s mission is to promote the safe design, construction, installation, service, inspection and use of automotive lifts. In 1947, ALI developed the first Commercial Standard covering vehicle lifts published by the National Bureau of Standards.

      Today, ALI sponsors several national lift safety standards and offers third- party certification programs for automotive lifts and automotive lift inspectors. ALI fulfills the roles as both a Nationally Accredited Standards Developing Organization and a Nationally Accredited Product Certification Body, both credentialed by the American National Standards Institute.

  • What is product certification?
    • ALI Validated Logo

      Certification is a system in which an independent, third-party organization determines that a manufacturer has the ability to produce a product that complies with a specific set of standards.  Certification further authorizes the manufacturer to use the controlled label of the third party on listed products representing the certified model. Certified products undergo periodic re-evaluation and are required to be produced within the requirements of a documented quality program.  The program participants are required to be audited quarterly to ensure continued compliance with the applicable standards.

      ALI sponsors a Certification Program for automotive lifts. Today, 100% of all newly certified vehicle lifts are certified under this program.

      ALI has been granted accreditation for this program from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  This assures absolute independence and unquestionable integrity for the program.

      Product evaluations, to determine electrical and mechanical compliance in accordance with appropriate standards, are conducted by approved Authorized Testing Laboratories.  Currently, Intertek, TUV Rheinland, and MET Laboratories are authorized to conduct testing on ALI’s behalf.  Intertek, TUV Rheinland and MET Laboratories are also recognized in the United States by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL’s) eligible to evaluate electrically operated products classified as garage equipment in accordance with ANSI/UL 201.

      Key certification considerations:

      • There are no conditional, temporary, or partial certifications.
      • Only lifts bearing ALI’s gold certification label are certified – all others are not certified.
      • It is fraudulent to use the ALI Certification Label, or reference the Certification Program, on products that are not manufactured in compliance with all requirements of the applicable standards.
      • Certification extends to options and accessories.
      • Use of non-certified options or accessories on a certified lift will void the certification of the lift for as long as the configuration remains altered.
      • A lift cannot be certified after installation as structural design elements, such as material composition and required stress calculations, cannot be validated.
      • There is a procedure for investigating field reports alleging noncompliance or failure of certified products.
      • The ALI Certification Mark, the MET Mark, the TUV Rheinland Mark, and the ETL Mark are registered with the U.S. and Canadian Governments and are vigorously defended (by legal means if necessary).
      • Membership in ALI is not required to participate in the ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program.

  • Are CE certification claims a valid alternative to ALI certification?
    • The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity”. The term initially used was “EC Mark” and was officially replaced by “CE Marking” which is now used globally in all European Union (EU) official documents.

      The CE Mark on a product or machine identifies it as complying with all the of safety requirements established by the European Union. In Europe, the CE Mark is a requirement and not a voluntary process; however, some countries in Europe require that their own mark is used and their standards are met.

      One of the most notable differences between CE and ALI certification is in the area of electrical safety. ANSI/ALI ALCTV mandates testing to UL201, Standard for Safety for Garage Equipment, which is harmonized with the National Electric Code (NEC). CE electrical requirements are different and in no way ensure compliance with the NEC. An important consideration relating to CE approval of lifts installed in North America is that American and Canadian electrical officials do not accept CE Marking as evidence of compliance with required safety standards. Claims that “Lifts are CE approved” bear no relevance to North American lift purchasers. The CE lift standard, EN 1493 is not tougher than ANSI/ALI ALCTV, as some might claim when unable to offer lift models that are ALI certified.

      Become an educated buyer – consider the risk of installing a vehicle lift bearing only a CE mark and the possibility that your shop will be “red tagged” for lifts not listed to North American safety standards.

  • Is ISO 9000 Certification a valid alternative to ALI Certification?
    • Claims that lifts are built to the ISO 9000 standards, or other claims invoking ISO (International Standards Organization), can be misleading.

      ISO 9000 standards describe an excellent quality control program; however, ISO compliance does not mean that the lift in question is designed in accordance with ANSI/ALI ALCTV, or that the product is independently certified to meet that standard.

  • I have an older lift depicting “ALA” compliance claims – what does this mean?
    • The claim “This lift is ALA Certified” is interesting at best.  ALA (also known as Automotive Lift Association or American Lift Association) is reported to be an organization of lift manufacturers.  At one time there were a few companies who claimed to be members of the organization when such claims suited their purpose.  However, attempts to locate said organization have been fruitless. As of the posting date of this document, no ALA organization or ALA lift certification exists. Although some older lift models depicting claims of ALA compliance remain on the market, ALA appears to have been purely fictitious and created merely to confuse purchasers, users and inspectors during the introduction of independent evaluation requirements. ALA is in no way affiliated with the Automotive Lift Institute.

  • I have an older lift depicting “MAMTC” compliance claims – what does this mean?
    • MAMTC (Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center) is a unit of Wichita State University which, in one instance, attempted to certify a lift model. Test Reports on MAMTC letterhead, signed by a Mr. Dave Richards, and stating that a lift complies with ANSI B153.1 – 1990, of course are meaningless because they are not a NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory), and the standard cited is obsolete. When claims involving MAMTC first arose, formal demands were made by ALI that the University cease and desist from such misleading activities.

  • Should my lift be inspected?
    • Yes, an automotive lift should be inspected at least annually, more frequently when required by the manufacturer or the authority having jurisdiction (ie: corporate health and safety, regional auto dealer associations, insurance providers, or workers’ compensation trusts).

      The national standard addressing automotive lift inspection is ANSI/ALI ALOIM (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Operation, Inspection, and Maintenance of Automotive Lifts”. This national consensus standard provides guidance to the owner, employer, and lift service and inspection provider(s) about the required qualifications, training, reporting, and documentation for lift operators, inspectors, and maintenance personnel.

      The ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program was created to provide third-party qualification of vehicle lift inspectors and to certify those who demonstrate that they are capable of properly inspecting any type of lift from any manufacturer in accordance with the ANSI standard governing vehicle lift inspection and in support of OSHA’s General Duty Clause, as well as provincial requirements in Canada.

      Visit the Directory of Certified Lift Inspectors for the most up-to-date interactive industry database of ALI Certified Lift Inspectors. Find local lift inspection service providers using your zip/postal code. Contact them to schedule an annual lift inspection that meets the requirements of the ANSI/ALI ALOIM standard and ALI’s Lift Inspector Certification Program. Demand ALI’s lift inspection label as a sign of continued safety and compliance.

       

      2015 label

  • Can my lift be certified?
    • In all industry certification programs sponsored by accredited certification organizations, product certification is only granted to the participant who owns the rights to the product. Since items such as material composition, welder qualifications, and other critical elements affecting product performance and user safety cannot be validated, an automotive lift produced outside of the certification body’s supervision cannot be certified. Therefore, a lift that has left the control of the authorized production facility without achieving certification shall not be labeled in a manner that demonstrates certification by the participant, the distributor, the installer, or their representatives.

      Often, a lift owner will contact ALI requesting “certification” of a lift that already bears the ALI Gold Label certification mark. In most cases, the individual contacting ALI is attempting to respond to an OSHA citation, an insurance carrier’s request, or a unit that has been “red tagged” by the local authority having jurisdiction. It is likely in these situations that the user or the individual making the request is confusing “product certification” with documentation demonstrating that a responsible party has performed an inspection of the automotive lift in accordance with ANSI/ALI ALOIM and the manufacturer’s inspection requirements.

  • I am purchasing a vehicle lift – what about ANSI and OSHA certification claims?
    • ANSI Compliance Claims: 
      Claims stating “ANSI certified” are invalid.  Claims that state “Meets all ANSI standards” are meaningless.

      The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector.

      ANSI does not perform product compliance evaluations, inspection services for hire, and does not provide product certification. In order to comply with the requirements of ANSI/ALI ALCTV, third-party testing and certification is required. ALI’s automotive lift certification program meets this requirement.

       

      OSHA Compliance Claims: 
      Claims stating “OSHA certified” are invalid.  Claims that state “Meets all OSHA requirements” are meaningless.

      There are no OSHA requirements at the Federal level specifically citing a provision for automotive lifts.  However, OSHA references the General Duty Clause [Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Health Act of 1970] when issuing citations or requesting abatement for automotive lift operations where there is an observed lack of maintenance or training, or when investigating an accident involving the automotive lift, the operator, or the raised vehicle.  Authority within the General Duty Clause to reference ANSI/ALI National Standards is vested within the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 that was signed into law on March 7, 1996.

      OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) does not perform product compliance evaluations, inspection services for hire,  and does not provide product certification.

  • Is my lift certified If I see a UL or ETL listing mark only on the power unit?
    • No.

      According to the Automotive Lift Institute and Underwriters Laboratories, a third party certification mark (label) representing the automotive lift as  a complete product must clearly bear the words “Automotive Lift” along with a reference to the American National Standard ANSI/ALI ALCTV.  The claim of a “certified lift” by some lift marketers and resellers is false and misleading when the automotive lift only bears a third party mark located on the power unit or another component such as the motor without these references.

      The lift consumer should recognize that without these references the automotive lift is NOT certified and the product as a system has NOT been found compliant when evaluated against the electrical and mechanical safety requirements in effect at the time the product was produced.

      The lift consumer should note that it is common for both certified and non-certified automotive lifts to bear any combination of UL, ETL, or CSA compliance marks to indicate a specific part is listed as a “recognized component”.  These compliance marks do not imply or infer the complete automotive lift product complies with the national product safety standards defining the electrical and mechanical requirements for automotive lifts.

  • What does “certification pending” mean?
    • ALI’s automotive lift certification program does not allow for the use of symbols, marks, or verbiage indicating certification of a lift model is “pending”.

      The claim or promise of “certification pending” appears to be one of the latest trends by some hopeful of winning your business.

      There are no conditional, temporary, or partial certifications. Only lifts bearing ALI’s gold certification label are certified – all others are not certified.

  • What about replacement parts – will my lift lose its certified status?
    • ALI’s position is clearly set forth in the governing American National Standard, ANSI/ALI ALOIM, which states at Section 8: “Replace worn, damaged or broken parts with parts approved by the original equipment manufacturer or with parts meeting the original equipment manufacturer specifications.” This identical language also appears in ANSI/ALI ALIS at Section 6.2.6 and ANSI/ALI ALCTV at Section 11.1.6.

      ALI does not evaluate OEM parts vs. “equal or better” parts. The decision on how to proceed when OEM parts are unavailable due to the lift manufacturer being out of business or for other reasons, any judgments on part quality and the decision on how to bring a lift into compliance is left entirely up to the business entity qualified and willing to make such a judgment: be it the inspection company, the service provider, the manufacturer, or an independent third party. If a lift manufacturer wishes to dictate the source, adequacy, quality, or effectivity of replacement parts, that is a matter between the lift manufacturer and those wishing to provide substitute parts. ALI provides information to candidate lift inspectors in an attempt to equip them with the knowledge, skill, ability, and experience to inspect installed automotive lifts. Service providers may decide to make parts evaluations or decline to make parts evaluations: this decision is left to the service provider.

      There is no practical way for a manufacturer or the certification body to supervise substitute part conformity and/or the withdrawal of certification in the field.  If there is a product failure due to the use of non-OEM parts, then the burden will fall to whomever substituted the non-OEM parts on the certified lift to demonstrate that the parts met the specifications required.

  • What should I consider before purchasing an automotive lift manufactured overseas?
    • Regardless of the country of origin, ALI requires that all authorized production facilities be represented by a legitimate Certification Program Participant with an organizational presence in North America. By demanding only ALI certified automotive lifts you can protect yourself and your employees.

      In today’s global marketplace, evidence involving the proliferation of questionable and unsafe products across most industries can be seen by visiting the websites of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Within the automotive lift industry, this trend first became visible in the last decade, as manufacturers, located in developing countries, and lifts importers, not familiar with the relevant electrical and mechanical standards, became interested in the North American market.  This continues today, therefore, the lift buyer/specifier must become educated regarding the importance of purchasing a third-party certified lift.

      Regardless of production facility location, organizations that are committed to a safe North American automotive lift market demonstrate this commitment through product compliance with all relevant national standards. Often lift production facilities and distributors that do not certify lift models through ALI lack a supported presence in North America or are committed only to importing and selling lifts for whatever period proves to be financially beneficial.

      In today’s society of disposable products, many components may be subject to wear and may need to be replaced or serviced.  The lift buyer/specifier should consider this point as it relates to potential “down time” contributed to replacement component delays, planned maintenance, and other support that may be required.

  • What should a bid specifier know about automotive lifts?
    • Of particular importance is the fact that in 2003, the International Building Code (IBC) adopted the American National Standard ANSI/ALI ALCTV, covering automotive lifts, as a part of the mechanical building code requirements (See current IBC Chapter 30, section 3001.2). Compliance with ANSI/ALI ALCTV requires a product to display the third party mark of an accredited lift certification program and for the electrical system of the lift to be certified.

      This means that recognized electrical components are not acceptable unless the entire lift product has been evaluated and certified as a system. Further to this point, “accessories” and “special modifications” offered for a certified lift model must also be evaluated by the OSHA-approved NRTL against the applicable referenced product standards. The ALI third-party lift certification program is fully accredited by the American National Standards Institute and provides assurance of compliance with the requirements of the appropriate standards.

      ALI offers the following additional information in favor of a decision to specify certified automotive lifts:

      1. As a result of the National Technology Transfer Advancement Act that was signed into law on March 7, 1996, the longstanding Federal Specification 00-L-360 covering motor vehicle lifts was withdrawn in favor of existing American National Standards.

      2. Under the General Duty clause [Section 5 (a) (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970], federal and state OSHA enforcement officers routinely reference the American National Standards ANSI/ALI ALCTV and ANSI/ALI ALOIM when investigating or abating workplace safety violations.

      3. Because we live in a global economy, often standardized industry purchasing terms and requirements such as ongoing quality assurance, stress analyses, and welder qualification become blurred. Be wary of manufacturer “declarations” or “certifications” used in place of ALI third-party certification.

      ALI encourages lift purchasers to consider only independent, third party certified automotive lifts on behalf of the technician that will be using the lift.  This approach provides a level of confidence in the lift’s ability to perform as intended.

  • Why are safety standards Important?
    • Standards have become such an integral part of our global economy, and our daily lives, that the average person gives little or no consideration to the extent that products and services are produced in compliance with industry established standards. Imagine a consumer’s dismay if electrical cords didn’t fit into the outlets, or if infant and toddler toys were not standardized to prevent a choking hazard, or if automobile tires were not standardized to identify use or size.

      In Europe, and many other countries, compliance with many national product safety standards is required by law.  The United States currently uses a voluntary standards system where compliance with applicable standards is compulsory when mandated by regulation or requirements imposed by the authority having jurisdiction.

      ALI’s mission of promoting the safe design, construction, installation, inspection, and use of automotive lift products has been recognized in recent years by regulatory agencies such as OSHA, WorkSafe BC, and Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.  Each of which have incorporated the implementation of ALI Sponsored National Standards and/or third-party certification into current regulation and practices.

  • What standards apply to automotive lifts?
    • The only standard governing the design and construction of automotive lifts in North America is ANSI/ALI ALCTV (current edition), “American National Standard for Automotive Lifts – Safety Requirements for Construction, Testing and Validation”. This standard requires that lifts be third-party tested and validated. The ALI Lift Certification program partners with an OSHA-accredited, Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) for each lift evaluation. Lift models that have been tested and proven to meet the standard bear the gold ALI Certification Label. Lifts that do not bear a certification label are not certified and are not likely to comply with the requirements of the local code authority having jurisdiction or new construction “pre-start” audit requirements.

      These standards require third party testing and validation by an OSHA-accredited, Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Automotive lifts that do not bear a certification label are not certified and are not likely to comply with the requirements of the local code authority having jurisdiction or new construction “pre-start” audit requirements.

      Two additional safety standards of importance to the automotive lift industry include ANSI/ALI ALOIM (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Operation, Inspection, and Maintenance of Automotive Lifts” and ANSI/ALI ALIS (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Installation and Service of Automotive Lifts”.

  • What standards apply to truck lifts?
    • The term “automotive lift” is applied equally to those lifts used to raise any vehicle, including cars, trucks, vans, buses, etc.

      The only standard governing the design and construction of automotive lifts in North America is ANSI/ALI ALCTV (current edition), “American National Standard for Automotive Lifts – Safety Requirements for Construction, Testing and Validation”. This Standard addresses the U.S. electrical requirements associated with an automotive lift by incorporating compliance and third-party listing to ANSI UL 201 (current edition), “Safety Standard for Garage Equipment”.  For automotive lifts used in the Canadian markets, third-party listing as evidence of compliance with CAN/CSA Std. C22.2 No. 68 is required.  The ALI “Gold Certification Label” provides proof of full compliance to the applicable U.S. Standard(s) and demonstrates full compliance to the applicable Canadian National Standard when indicated on the certification label.

      These standards require third party testing and validation by an OSHA-accredited, Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Automotive lifts that do not bear a certification label are not certified and are not likely to comply with the requirements of the local code authority having jurisdiction or new construction “pre-start” audit requirements.

      Two additional safety standards of importance to the automotive lift industry include ANSI/ALI ALOIM (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Operation, Inspection, and Maintenance of Automotive Lifts” and ANSI/ALI ALIS (current edition) “Safety Requirements for the Installation and Service of Automotive Lifts”.

  • Are claims of ANSI/ALI B153.1 valid regarding newly installed or relocated vehicle lifts?
    • Claims that state “Meets or Exceeds Standard ANSI/ALI B-153.1” are meaningless.  This standard has been withdrawn, is no longer an American National Standard, and is not valid. Some irresponsible lift production facilities and their distributors continue to market products with this claim to unsuspecting consumers in the hobby and commercial trade. The last of the remaining B153.1 series of Standards was withdrawn April 1, 2000.

      When confronted with this claim relating to new or uninstalled lifts, lift purchasers, specifiers, authorities having jurisdiction, and users are encouraged to formally contact local code enforcement, the state attorney general, and the following agencies as may be appropriate:

      Each agency will require that your complaint documents the product in question by recording the manufacturer’s name, address, model and serial number of the lift, location of the product and point of contact. Detailed photographs, literature, and other supporting material as may be appropriate should be included.  The Automotive Lift Institute may be copied on all correspondence.

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  • Do high reach fixed stands and other accessories need to be certified?
    • If separate accessories are furnished for use with a lift conforming to ANSI/ALI ALCTV (current edition), the separate accessory shall conform to the relevant national standards and shall be certified as such.  Placement of unrecognized accessories into a certified lift configuration invalidates the lift’s certification as long as the certified lift configuration remains altered.

      The ALI Lift Certification Program requires each participant to submit all accessories for evaluation. Approved accessories are required to be listed for use by model number on ALI’s Directory of Certified Products. Accessories not found on the Directory are not approved for use.

      Perhaps the most common example of a configuration altering accessory would be a wheels-free-device (rolling jacks) or high reach fixed stands.  Wheels-free-devices must be certified as an accessory to the lift model. For the safety of the technician and others in the immediate area, high reach fixed stands, when used in support of a certified automotive lift, must be certified in accordance with ANSI/ASME PALD or ANSI/ASME PASE, the safety standard covering portable automotive safety equipment (ASME PASE has replaced ASME PALD).