– Download Full ALI History Timeline
– Download Full ALI History Timeline
In 1945, emerging from the industrial chaos of World War II, nine U.S. lift manufacturers agreed to work together for their common good under the auspices of a new trade association, and the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) was formed.
The founding charter members were:
Curtis Pneumatic Machinery Co. Gilbert & Barker Mfg Co.
Globe Hoist Company Hayward Products Corp.
Joyce-Cridland Company Rotary Lift Company
U.S. Air Compressor Co. Wayne Pump Company
Weaver Manufacturing Co.
These companies shared concerns over the availability of steel and other raw materials used to produce automotive lifts since these materials remained under government allocation. At the same time, high-grade steel, required for machined pistons and cylinders and for forming superstructure components, was in short supply and as a result, scrap steel of questionable quality was being reprocessed to manufacture some lifts. As a result, ALI was concerned about the quality of vehicle lifts produced and the safety of the lift operator.
This focus on quality and safety continues in the forefront of ALI activities and is the foundation of our mission today.
David Laine was appointed secretary and staff head in 1945. Under his leadership, ALI developed its original activities to promote industry safety and support ALI’s nine founding members. Laine’s office was in New York City.
In 1947, after two years of committee meetings and correspondence with the National Bureau of Standards, the first nationally recognized commodity standard governing automotive lifts (CS142) was issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
CS142 was a design standard covering the strength factors and material requirements for manufacturing in-ground lifts, as these were the only type of lift produced in the United States until the mid-1970s.
By the late 1960s, the U.S. Department of Commerce directed the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) to withdraw from commodity standards activities. As a result, ALI was advised by the NBS to approach the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) about the lift industry standard.
In 1971, ANSI was enthusiastically backing public sentiment which called for replacing design standards with performance standards. This meant that standards should not provide requirements for materials and manufacturing methods, but rather only state how these products should perform in service.
At the same time, all industries were living in anticipation of the impending impact of the first OSHA regulations, enacted in 1974. In this environment, ALI rewrote the existing standard to address safety issues with vigor. Safety devices that previously had been optional were made mandatory for manufacturers, although some major purchasers, including oil companies, signed waivers authorizing automotive lift products to be shipped without selected safety devices.
With the death of David Laine in December 1973, E.K. “Chic” Fox assumed the role of staff head until ALI’s by-laws were revised in early 1974. This revision allowed Fox to be elected as ALI’s first president. His leadership is credited with moving ALI onto the path of redefining industry safety requirements and establishing ALI as the watchdog for the automotive lift industry.
When OSHA requirements became law in 1974, ALI developed a 3”x5” laminated “Operating and Maintenance Instructions” hang tag that was shipped with each new lift and was also made available as a retrofit for older lifts. In 1980, this became an 8-1/2″x 11″ “Safety Tips” glossy card that was generic to the lifts then being produced.
In 1974, ANSI issued the first version of ANSI B153.1. This National Standard addressed in-ground lifts, with a passing reference to screw-drive mechanisms, which at the time represented the introduction of surface-mounted lifts in the United States.
By 1975, two separate oil crises had hit the United States. As a result, gas/repair station construction was curtailed, and many older stations were converted to convenience stores. Lift sales dropped 65 percent from 1969 to 1975. Many lift manufacturers failed and others merged, so that by 1975 nearly half of the North American lift manufacturers were no longer in business. Those remaining supported and participated in ALI programs, and an estimated 98% of all new lifts sold in America were produced by these companies.
Rusting and pitted in-ground lifts that had been removed from decommissioned service stations and were now of questionable quality and serviceability became a glut on the market and were being reclaimed by “junk” dealers and resold. This became a potential liability for the original lift manufacturer when lifts were re-installed in a different facility. Although safety was a primary concern of ALI, the industry could do little except watch it happen.
As a result of these market forces, ALI was faced with financial extinction. However, at the same time, a new concept in lifts was taking a foothold in the U.S. marketplace. By 1975 about 10 percent of new lift sales in the now depressed market were comprised of surface-mounted lifts. Many of these lifts came from overseas, some were manufactured by ALI members and a few non-member companies were initiating production of these “new” style lifts.
ALI adopted a revised constitution and by-laws in 1973, with further revisions in 1975 to open what previously had been an “in-ground” lift manufacturers association to allow domestic producers of surface-mounted lifts and national marketers of foreign lifts (affiliates) to become members.
Meanwhile, vehicle design was changing. Cars previously assembled onto underbody frames were now adopting unibody and other frameless designs. For years, all major domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers replied to ALI’s annual surveys requesting the car manufacturers to furnish ALI with their recommended pick-up points so that, in turn, lift manufacturers could supply lift owners with the necessary adapters that would reach those points and offer safety to lift operators. With the advent of the “frameless” car designs, ALI no longer benefited from their input, and ALI’s annual survey was discontinued.
The original 1947 CS142 design standard was revised several times before being officially withdrawn by the National Bureau of Standards in 1975. The standard was replaced by ANSI B153.1-1974.
As the economy improved, ALI grew, and by 1984 had 16 member companies representing more than 95 percent of U.S. lift sales.
With the passage of the U.S./Canada Trade pact, the ALI Constitution and By-Laws were rewritten in 1983 to accept Canadian lift producers as manufacturing members. In addition, the first membership initiation fee was introduced.
In the mid-1980s, ALI developed the Lifting it Right Safety Manual. A special assessment of the 17 members was required to typeset and produce the first edition. This assessment was a big step considering that ALI’s annual revenue up to this point had been minimal. Since this time, more than 3 million copies of this Safety Manual have been distributed by members or sold to vo-tech/trade schools or to the public.
Lift sales escalated during the early 1980s, and the number of lift manufacturers and lift designs were at an all-time high. By 1988, ALI had 17 member companies representing approximately 80 percent of the domestic market. There were also some 30 non-member companies that were marketing lifts in North America.
Although ALI had discontinued its annual survey of OEMs, lift manufacturers and technicians using lifts still needed lifting point information for all vehicles. This information is especially important when using the surface-mounted swing-arm type lifts that had become the best-selling lift style at the time. In late 1990, ALI compelled the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to help develop an SAE Recommended Practice for permanent undercar identification of lift points and for on-car lifting point labeling to be phased in as body styles change.
This resulted in SAE J2184 being promulgated in late 1992. This SAE Recommended Practice was adopted by ANSI as an American National Standard, and as some auto manufacturers implemented the requirements into new model years, it was expected this practice would help prevent accidents involving swing-arm type lifts.
In a proactive initiative to further ALI’s industry safety proposition, ALI’s Member Companies recognized the need to identify vehicle lift related hazards and to warn against them. This resulted in several years of research and development activities to bring ALI’s “Uniform Safety Warning Labels” to fruition.
The development and validation work supporting this project was contracted by ALI to the National Safety Council and the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. In 1991, a special assessment of the members was needed to fund the contracted work and the initial production cost.
The messages and pictographs of ALI’s warning labels are generic in nature and are meant to generally represent common automotive lift hazards. These labels and placards come in kits representing 6 different lift types. Their use, or equivalent labeling, is required on certified lifts. In fact, it has become an industry “best practice” to apply ALI’s safety warning labels regardless of the lift manufacturer’s membership status or the lift’s certification status.
ALI’s “Uniform Safety Warning Label” kits are copyrighted intellectual property. Reproduction without specific written authorization is not permitted. Those violating the Association’s copyright shall be held liable.
A 17-minute VHS video was created to serve as a companion to the “Lifting it Right” Safety Manual. Development took more than two years. It was issued in mid-1993.
ALI members supported the decision that third-party testing and product listing in the ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program be made a requirement for ALI membership for both current and new applicants.
Today, membership by-laws require ALI member companies to certify at least 75 percent of all lifts they sell in North America. Although it is encouraged, ALI membership is not required to participate in the ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program.
ALI entered into an agreement in February 1993 accepting Intertek Testing Laboratories (Intertek) of Cortland, NY, as ALI’s third-party certification program administrator and primary authorized testing laboratory. Intertek is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) accredited by OSHA. MET Laboratories was introduced in March 2000 as a second authorized NRTL accredited by OSHA. TUV Peabody became the third NRTL accredited by OSHA to be approved by ALI as an authorized testing laboratory in 2013.
Under the continued leadership of ALI President E.K. “Chic” Fox, ALI’s offices relocated from New York City to Indialantic, FL.
The ALI Engineering Committee (which was reorganized with an expanded scope in 2005 as the Safety and Standards Technical Committee) developed the first industry standard addressing “Safety Requirements for the Operation, Inspection, and Maintenance of Automotive Lifts”. This ALOIM Standard was first adopted as an ANSI national safety standard in August 1996, and was revised and approved again as an American National Standard in 2000 and 2008. In 2013, the 2008 ALOIM Standard was reaffirmed by ANSI.
ALI began annual publication of the “Vehicle Lifting Points/Quick Reference Guide” for frame-engaging lifts covering domestic and imported cars and light trucks.
The 1974 version of the ANSI B-153.1 standard went through revisions in 1981 and 1990. On Oct. 1, 1998, ANSI/ALI ALCTV-1998, “Safety Requirements for the Construction, Testing and Validation of Automotive Lifts” was adopted as the new nationally recognized consensus standard for the lift industry replacing ANSI B-153.1. The ANSI/ALI ALCTV standard became fully effective in April 2000.
Of significant importance in this new standard was the requirement for independent, third-party product testing and certification. The 1998 version of this American National Standard was withdrawn on Nov. 4, 2007 and replaced by American National Standard ANSI/ALI ALCTV-2006. On June 20, 2013, ALCTV-2011 became the current edition.
The ALI Lift Certification Program received initial American National Standard Institute (ANSI) accreditation in November 2001. ANSI’s accreditation program was established to provide government and industry with a high level of confidence in the integrity of third-party product certification programs. After a program has been accredited, continued conformance with program qualification requirements is verified by ANSI auditors through annual on-site and factory assessments.
This approach provides the lift purchaser or bid specifier with a high level of confidence, which allows for informed decisions to be made regarding the status of product compliance with the current national safety and performance standards. This approach significantly reduces risk and provides a guarantee that the listed product has been assessed by a competent, independent body, therefore inspiring confidence in the product and trust in ALI’s Certification Mark.
The ALI Automotive Lift Certification Program is guided by a detailed procedural guide. This guide describes the program and addresses general administrative matters, as well as other important requirements designed to assist participants by assuring that their listed products fully comply with the requirements of the current editions of applicable American National Standards.
The program is described in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication SP903. For a manufacturer to initiate evaluation of an automotive or vehicle lift, a multi-party program participation agreement that sets out the responsibilities of each party must be signed by the participant, the program administrator, and the program sponsor (ALI). Should manufacturing occur at a location other than the participant’s primary facility, the authorized production facility (APF) must also be party to the agreement. ALI’s certification program offers testing and qualification for listing of any type of automotive or vehicle lift covered within the scope of ANSI/ALI ALCTV (current edition).
Another important safety standard for the automotive lift industry, ANSI/ALI ALIS entitled “Safety Requirements for the Installation and Service of Automotive Lifts, ” was initially approved as an American National Standard in October 2001. The standard was revised in 2009.
This standard provides guidance to the installer and lift service technician for the installation and service of automotive lifts, including the required qualifications, training, reporting and documentation for installers and service personnel.
With the retirement of Chic Fox in April 2005, R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman was appointed as ALI president and CEO. Within his first year, the association’s offices were relocated from Indialantic, FL to Cortland, NY. In the years to follow, a path of continual process improvement would lead to other changes including: revision of the Constitution and By-Laws, expansion of the Institute’s safety focus, the addition of full-time technical staff to better support the membership and ALI’s growing safety message, development of ALI’s online safety course for lift operators, and launching ALI ‘s Inspector Certification Program .
In 2006, in response to increasing interest from industry, ALI made its Uniform Warning Label kits available in Canadian French, neutral Spanish and Mandarin.
ALI’s Uniform Safety Warning Label kits are copyrighted, intellectual property. Reproduction without specific written authorization is not permitted. Those violating the Association’s copyright shall be held liable.
With more than 10,000 copies of the Lifting It Right video distributed to members, vocational schools, and the public since its initial release in VHS format, this popular training tool was updated as a DVD and endorsed by the National Safety Council in 2006.
The DVD, hosted by racing legends Richard and Kyle Petty, contains valuable training and safety information designed in a manner that engages technicians, shop owners, and students.
The DVD kit contained a copy of the DVD along with a reproducible written test, instructor’s answer key and user guide. A copy of ALI’s Safety Manual and Safety Tips Card were also provided.
By 2007, many of ALI’s safety efforts were recognized globally. WorkSafe BC, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, and other provincial health and safety organizations throughout Canada had incorporated ALI-sponsored national standards and/or third-party certification requirements into their regulations or practices. The Saudi Arabian Standards Association (SASA) had also adopted ALI’s sponsored American National Standard, ALCTV, as a requirement.
In the United States, many authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ), such as building code officials and bid specifiers, had made compliance with ALCTV and ALOIM a compulsory requirement. Other AHJs, such as those involved in occupational safety and health, accepted compliance with ALI-sponsored standards and the use of ALI safety materials to abate penalty-based findings related to life safety and hazards in the workplace.
An increase in penalty-based initiatives by various health and safety and building code officials throughout the U.S. and each of the Canadian provinces brought forth a need to better educate purchasers, shop owners, supervisors, and end users such as mechanics, technicians, students, and DIY hobbyists and collectors.
As with all previous versions of the ANSI B153 series standards, before ANSI/ALI ALCTV-1998 became fully effective, all lift manufacturers were permitted to self-declare compliance. Not unlike other industries that moved away from self-declarations of compliance, private testing had shown that lifts were being marketed in increasing numbers that failed to meet the requirements of the standard claimed. Printed safety materials and appropriate warning labels/placards, required to be included with new lifts, were also not being furnished by some manufacturers.
Prior to 1985, ALI’s developing program had few participants, and the industry, through ALI, could “police” itself using the 1974 or 1981 ANSI B153 standards. By 1995, approximately 50 companies were marketing lifts, and ANSI/ALI B153.1-1990 had lost its enforcement teeth. With the adoption of ANSI/ALI ALCTV-1998, each lift manufacturer’s claim of meeting the American National Standard for lift construction was required to be supported by documented testing, conducted by an OSHA accredited, Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), and a third-party certification mark was required to be placed conspicuously on each certified lift. Since this time, all editions of the ANSI/ALI ALCTV standard require compliance in this area.
ANSI/ALI-ALCTV-2011 became effective in June 2013. As the work to develop this edition began in early 2011, ALI activities included educating stakeholders and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) about product safety compliance. Primarily, this included the need for electrical and mechanical safety listing by a third-party certification agency and an awareness campaign highlighting the fact that all prior editions of ANSI/ALI ALCTV and ANSI/ALI B153.1 would no longer be recognized as American National Standards when a newer edition becomes effective.
ALI sponsored the inaugural Petty’s Garage Spring Fling Car Show held at Richard Petty’s custom hot rod shop in Level Cross, N.C., on May 28, 2011. The car show was the setting for the unveiling of Legacy by Petty, a one-of-a-kind Dodge Challenger custom built by Petty’s Garage to pay tribute to Richard Petty and promote vehicle lift safety.
ALI presented the car show for the next five years. The event, held in October since 2014, takes place on what is now the Petty Historical Site, home of both Petty’s Garage and the Richard Petty Museum. This campus in Level Cross, N.C., includes the house where Richard and Maurice Petty were born and raised, as well as the original Petty Race Shop. Proceeds from the car show benefit the Petty Family Foundation.
The ANSI/ALI ALOIM standard mandates that all installed vehicle lifts be inspected at least annually by a “qualified lift inspector.” The standard also provides some guidance on what qualifications the inspector should have, however, there was no national resource for finding qualified inspectors. In this buyer-beware environment, the best option lift owners had was to get recommendations from the manufacturers of their lifts.
In October 2012, after several years of development and a financial investment of more than $700,000, ALI launched the first third-party lift inspector certification program. The ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program provides third-party qualification of vehicle lift inspectors and certifies those who demonstrate they are capable of properly inspecting vehicle lifts in accordance with the ANSI standard governing vehicle lift inspection. The program further provides a proactive alternative to support service bay safety rather than penalty-based compliance programs founded on OSHA’s General Duty Clause or provincial requirements in Canada.
In 2013, ALI introduced an online directory to help lift owners find service providers with at least one ALI Certified Lift Inspector on staff. The directory is searchable by ZIP and Canadian postal code.
By the end of 2014, ALI’s Lift Inspector Certification Program had grown to 154 associate member inspection service providers and 32 non-member participants represented by 237 ALI Certified Lift Inspectors. An additional 264 inspection service providers, represented by 484 Candidate Inspectors, were working through the ALI certification process.
When Richard “The King” Petty decided to bring the experience of Petty’s Garage directly to fans with a nationwide tour, ALI came on board as a sponsor of the inaugural Petty’s Garage Performance Tour. The tour featured some of the unique vehicles produced by Petty’s Garage, including The King’s personal #001 Signature Series Dodge Challenger and the Legacy by Petty custom Challenger designed to honor the Petty legacy and promote vehicle lift safety.
The custom car hauler prominently featured the ALI logo and the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program logo, helping to build awareness of the organization and its new inspection program.
Car enthusiasts visiting the Petty’s Garage trailer at car shows around the country could learn more by watching a new lift safety video featuring Petty that was shot in Petty’s Garage.
The sponsorship provided a unique platform to share ALI’s vehicle service lift safety message with millions of NASCAR fans as the institute prepared to launch the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program.
The Automotive Lift Institute No. 43 Ford wore a paint scheme of red, white and black, with accents of Petty Blue. The ALI Certified Lift Inspector logo was prominently displayed on both quarters, with the TV panel on the rear dedicated to the ALI tagline “Your safety is riding on it.”
Lionel Racing later created a 1:24 scale diecast model of the car. The edition was limited to 535 cars.
ALI membership was expanded to include a new Associate Class. Associate Class membership is open to companies that are organized under the laws of any state or province in North America with staffed offices in North America and at least one ALI Certified Lift Inspector on staff. The ALI Board of Directors was also expanded to include an Associate Class member.
Associate class members and non-member participants in ALI’s Lift Inspector Certification Program provide an equally critical level of confidence to industry stake holders. While this is achieved in the service bay through demonstrating compliance with the lift manufacturer’s inspection requirements and those found within ANSI/ALI ALOIM current edition, it is the Associate Class Membership and their ability to network and be represented at all institute meetings and functions that will more positively impact industry safety.
The Automotive Lift Institute partnered with dealer services provider KPA to create an interactive, online certificate course based on ALI’s popular Lifting It Right DVD hosted by racing legends Richard and Kyle Petty.
This interactive, online certificate course was an immediate success resulting, in part, from the unique and engaging safety-related training it provides and through agreements allowing top-rated learning management systems (LMS) such as KPA, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services of Canada (WSPS) and a leading tire manufacturer’s online training library to offer the course in addition to traditional online store purchases through ALI’s store.
The certificate course is designed to allow participants up to 90 days to view the course and pass an online test. Each participant has the opportunity to retest once, if necessary. At the conclusion of the course, a certificate of completion is stored online with future access to the record included as a part of the fee. The certificate can also be printed for display or placed in employee training records if desired. Upon completion, each participant also receives a copy of ALI’s Automotive Lift Safety Tips card and the Lifting It Right Safety Manual via mail.
By the end of 2014, participants in the ALI Lift Certification Program included 21 manufacturer members and six non-member participants.
The association launched a mobile-friendly website allowing for full integration of the Directory of Certified Lifts. As a part of this initiative, the website and product/services directories are now managed internally, allowing for live updates and assuring the most accurate information for those utilizing the site.
On September 14th, ANSI granted accreditation to ALI’s Lift Inspector Certification Program. Associate Class Membership (lift inspection service providers) grew beyond 200 companies represented by 380 lift inspectors certified by ALI.
Participation in the ALI Lift Certification Program, for the same time period, swelled to an all-time high with 22 manufacturing members and nine non-member participants.