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Lift manufacturers come together to help 91 lift inspectors along path to ALI certification

Friday, December 19, 2014 - 09:00
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Since the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) launched its Lift Inspector Certification Program in late 2012, demand for ALI Certified Lift Inspectors has continued to grow. Although some inspectors complete the certification requirements quickly, others may take six months to a year to achieve certification. To help accelerate the process and fill the need for Certified Lift Inspectors, ALI member manufacturers Rotary Lift, Forward Lift, Challenger Lifts, Mohawk Lifts, PKS and Stertil-Koni USA came together to hold a five-day “all-in-one” training, testing and practical inspection event in Las Vegas Nov. 3-6, 2014.

Called “Five Days to Victory,” the event offered candidate inspectors who had passed the pre-course exam the opportunity to complete all the other certification requirements: an orientation workshop, course examination and 12 practical inspections. Additionally, participants could attend a full-day study group on Tuesday led by ALI Factory Designated Trainers to prepare for the next day’s exam. Although ALI has held previous “all-in-one” events, this manufacturer-led event was the first to include practical inspections. A total of 91 candidates participated over the week.

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. The program is open to anyone with a minimum of 12 months experience as a lift inspector. To obtain certification, participants must attend a six-hour orientation workshop, pass a written pre-course exam and final course exam, and properly complete 12 practical lift inspections on a range of vehicle lifts.

Annual lift inspections help protect technicians by ensuring that the lifts they work under are installed correctly, functioning properly and adequately maintained. The inspections are required by ANSI/ALI ALOIM:2008 (R2013), the national standard covering vehicle lift operation, inspection and maintenance. Companies with an ALI Certified Lift Inspector on staff are listed in a directory on the ALI website. The directory is searchable by ZIP code to make it easy for lift owners to find a local inspector. For more information about the program or to find a local ALI Certified Lift Inspector, visit www.autolift.org/inspection.

Five Days to Victory kicked off on Monday, Nov. 3, with an orientation workshop led by Dale Soos, ALI senior project engineer. This session focused on explaining the administrative aspects of the program, setting expectations and answering participants’ questions. More than 40 people attended.

The next day was dedicated to the study group session. Ron Lainhart, an ALI factory designated trainer with Rotary Lift, led the training. Stan Poweska, ALI subject matter expert for PKS, Allan Pavalick, ALI subject matter expert with Stertil-Koni USA, and Jon Bennett, ALI factory designated trainer from Challenger Lifts, conducted reviews throughout the day. The training was interactive, with trainers and ALI staff answering candidates’ questions, and candidates discussing their own best practices.

“Our goal for the study group was to provide training and help the candidate inspectors be confident in their abilities,” explains Lainhart, who spearheaded the event. “At the end of the week, a couple of participants told me that they didn’t think they would have passed the course exam without having attended the training session.”

One of the unique benefits of the Five Days to Victory event was the unprecedented access candidates had to factory designated trainers, ALI staff and certified inspectors. These individuals were dedicated to answering questions, providing advice and helping the inspectors achieve their goals. They included:

·      Josh Scroggins, factory designated trainer for Forward Lift.

·      Kelsey Greeves-Stephens, factory designated trainer for Rotary Lift.

·      Paul Lee, factory designated trainer for Rotary Lift.

·      Ron Veresko, ALI designated subject matter expert for Mohawk Lifts.

·      Peter Bower, ALI designated trainer for Stertil-Koni.

·      ALI President R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman.

·      Janelle Storey, ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program coordinator.

·      Jason Prentice, ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program analyst.

·      ALI Associate Class Director Gary Wainwright, ALI Certified Inspector #1639 of Weco Inc.

·      Marta Valdes, ALI Certified Inspector #1625 of Atlantic Auto Suppliers.

·      Craig Heidenthal, ALI Certified Inspector #1513 of Service Tech Tool & Equipment.

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, 72 participants sat for the course exam, while another 12 who had already taken the exam started on their practical inspections. The factory and ALI representatives worked closely together and with Bob Seltzer of Automotive Equipment of Nevada, Scott Terry of Southwest Lift and Equipment, Peter Bower of Stertil-Koni and Dean McDonald of Southwest Lift and Equipment to secure the seven types of light-duty and heavy-duty lifts necessary for the candidates to perform all 12 inspections in a field environment. John Ventura, automotive program director for the College of Southern Nevada, and Warren Rich, manager of facilities for the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada, worked closely with ALI to make sure all the lifts were accommodated at their facilities.

“It can be challenging for inspector candidates to find all of the lifts they need to perform their practical inspections on a local level,” said Bennett, of Challenger Lifts. “That can lead to time delays in achieving certification. Bringing together all the lift types at once made it very efficient for the Five Days to Victory candidates to complete all their inspection requirements in a timely manner, and to learn more while doing it.”

Candidates inspected six heavy-duty lifts including mobile column, runway style, inground scissor and two-post models made by Stertil-Koni at the RTC Regional Transportation Center on Wednesday and Thursday. At the same time, six light-duty lifts including two-post, four-post, scissor and inground models by Challenger Lifts, Hunter Engineering and Forward Lift were available for inspection at the College of Southern Nevada. ALI staff, factory designated trainers and certified lift inspectors were on-hand at both facilities. Soos and Lainhart traveled between both facilities and worked with all of the inspectors to make sure their inspection forms were properly completed.

By the end of the day on Thursday, Nov. 6, all participants had finished their inspections and were well on their way to certification.

“We’re very proud of our manufacturer members for putting together the Five Days to Victory event, and helping more than 90 candidate inspectors down the path to certification,” says ALI President O’Gorman. “We currently have more than 700 candidates representing more than 450 firms participating in the ALI Lift Inspector Certification program, and we anticipate that up to 350 inspectors will have achieved certification by the end of March 2015.”

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