Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issues safety alert to motor vehicle repair employers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety alert to warn employers carrying out work on vehicles with air suspension systems of the hazards and actions required to carry out maintenance and repair work safely.

The alert follows several serious incidents investigated by the HSE involving air suspension systems on vehicles that have failed. The causes have included:

  • work being carried out on vehicles supported by the air suspension system and the airbags have catastrophically failed.
  • work has been carried out on the suspension control system or vehicle sensors and unexpected suspension movement has occurred.
  • work has been carried out without de-pressurising the air suspension system and the pneumatic airbag or associated components have ejected or ruptured.

The above hazards must be included as part of your risk assessment for working on vehicles with air suspension systems and all work of this type should be planned with written procedures for carrying out the work communicated to employees.

The HSE’s safety alert sets out the key requirements to control the risk:

  • Undertake minimal repair work at the roadside or third-party premises. The best place to undertake such work is at an adequately equipped vehicle repair facility.
  • Prevent movement of air suspension, either by deflating the system or by using suitably rated props or stands to prevent the chassis lowering. Under no circumstances should air suspension be relied upon to maintain a vehicle’s ride height or position whilst people gain access to areas where they may become trapped.
  • Exhaust the air from the air suspension system before working on it.
  • Isolate the air suspension system by physical disconnection of the air supply before working on it. You should not use clamping of air suspension pipework as a means of temporary isolation as it is not secure.

Further details are contained within the HSE safety alert, which you can read here.

How can Citation help?

For help with risk assessments and advice on this latest guidance from the HSE, remember as a Citation client you can call our advice line 24/7 on 0345 844 4848. You can also find a range of example risk assessments – such as those on Lifting Equipment (Motor) and Vehicle Repair Shops – in Atlas.

Not yet a Citation client? If you want a 24/7 access to our experts and all the resources, tools and templates to keep you compliant, simply get in touch with our friendly team on 0345 844 1111 to chat through your needs.

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