The UK safety regulator has issued a warning for those carrying out or responsible for work on vehicles with air suspension systems.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently investigated several serious incidents involving air suspension systems on vehicles. The two main causes were collapse of inadequately supported vehicles and unintended rupture or release of components from the air suspension system.
The regulation body has extended its warning to motor vehicle repair workshops, the roadside repair and recovery industry and customer sites where this work is undertaken.
'Under no circumstances should air suspension be relied upon to maintain a vehicle’s ride height or position while people gain access to areas where they may become trapped'
The HSE is advising those working on vehicles such as buses and coaches, refuse vehicles, goods vehicles and tankers, to undertake minimal repair work at the roadside or third-party premises. It says 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,' the safety alert warns. 'Under no circumstances should air suspension be relied upon to maintain a vehicle’s ride height or position while people gain access to areas where they may become trapped.'
It goes on to issue a reminder to exhaust the air from the air suspension system before working on it, and isolate the air suspension system by physical disconnection of the air supply before working on it. It warns against clamping air suspension pipework as a means of temporary isolation as it is not secure.
You can read the safety alert here.