Car Jacks Kill 46 & Injure Hundreds Revealed in New Safety Campaign

Australia ( September 01, 2011

Car Jacks Kill 46 & Injure Hundreds Revealed in New Safety Campaign

Car Jacks Kill 46 & Injure Hundreds Revealed in New Safety Campaign

Home mechanics are being encouraged not to be jackasses when using vehicle jacks, stands and ramps as a part of a national DIY vehicle maintenance safety campaign launched today.

This joint initiative by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and state and territory fair trading agencies aims to promote DIY vehicle maintenance safety and help curb deaths and serious injuries associated with working under a car.

During the past decade, at least 46 Australians have been crushed and killed while working under a vehicle, and hundreds have been seriously injured. Injuries have ranged from amputation to fractures and crush injuries.

“These deaths and serious injuries have occurred when a vehicle or trolley jack has been used to support a car while someone worked under it,” ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell said.

“Jacks just aren’t designed for working under a vehicle safely, and people should never get under their car when it is only supported by a jack.

“Deaths and injuries have also occurred when a vehicle was not properly supported with vehicle support stands or secured with wheel chocks.”

“Not being a jackass with jacks means never placing any part of your body under a vehicle unless it is sitting on support stands or ramps, never allowing a person or pet to remain in a vehicle whilst it is being jacked, and never exceeding the weight capacity of the jack,” Mr Kell said.

For more information about the campaign and working safely under a vehicle, visit

Included on the website are the following simple safety tips for DIY vehicle mechanics, in particular correct ways to use jacks in order to raise a vehicle safely onto support stands, and ramps, as well as tips on suitable surfaces to work on:

  • Park the vehicle on a hard level surface such as a concrete driveway.
  • Before you raise the vehicle, chock the unlifted wheels and engage the park brake.
  • Refer to the workshop manual for your car to locate the lifting point to position the jack under your vehicle. If the incorrect lifting point is used, the jack could slip or tip.
  • Watch carefully whilst raising your vehicle. Check that the head plate of the trolley jack is sitting squarely on the point you are lifting, and make sure the jack is able to roll slightly to allow for the change of angle as the vehicle is raised.
  • If you are planning on working under your vehicle, always use support stands or ramps. When using support stands, ensure you locate the correct position for them before slowly lowering the jack so the vehicle is resting on the stands. Ensure that your vehicle is secure on the stands before getting under it.

Suppliers including retailers are also reminded that there are mandatory standards for vehicle jacks, trolley jacks, support stands and portable stands.

A recent national product safety survey by the ACCC and state fair trading agencies found 35 non-compliant trolley jacks on the market, with 10 requiring immediate recall. All failed to meet the warning labelling requirements of the mandatory standard, and some also failed performance requirements.

More information is available for suppliers from

A range of resources have been produced as a part of this campaign and will be available over the coming months. They include:

  • postcards
  • a competition encouraging DIY vehicle mechanics to share safety information
  • a short YouTube safety film
  • an informative safety flyer ‘Working under a vehicle.’

For more information on product safety generally, visit, call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or follow us on Twitter @ProductSafetyAU.

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