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Harbor Freight Tools Recalls Auto Jack Stands that May Collapse under the Weight of a Lifted Vehicle

June 1, 2020

Do-it-yourself auto mechanics should check their garage immediately for jack stands recalled by Harbor Freight Tools that may collapse and cause serious injury for people under or near a lifted vehicle.

The tool and equipment retailer recently recalled about 1.7 million six-ton and three-ton jack stands, indicating that in certain units the jack stand pawl may disengage from the extension lifting post, allowing the stand to drop suddenly.

Harbor Freight is recalling 454,000 of its Pittsburgh Automotive 6-Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands, according to a Safety Recall Report filed on March 20, 2020, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A recall notice on Harbor Freight’s website lists the affected item number as 61197, which can be identified by checking the yellow part of the label on the base of the jack stand.

Harbor Freight is also recalling 1,254,000 of its Pittsburgh Automotive 3-Ton Heavy Duty Steel Jack Stands, according a Safety Recall Report filed on May 3, 2020, with NHTSA. The recall notice lists the affected item numbers as 61196 and 56371. Item number 61196 can be identified by checking the yellow part of the label on the base of the jack stand. Item number 56371 can be identified by checking the label on the top of the jack stand.

The recall notice advises consumers to stop using the jack stands immediately and to return them to their local Harbor Freight Tools store for a gift card for the original purchase price plus tax.

How Safe Are Motor Vehicle Jacks?

A detailed study by NHTSA published in 1998 on “Injuries Associated with Hazards Involving Motor Vehicle ‘Jack Failures’” estimated that during a one-year period, 4,822 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries resulting from the failure of a jack while engaged in an activity involving a motor vehicle.

The study, which examined a nationally representative sample of data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), estimated that 74 percent of the persons injured in motor vehicle jack failures were struck by the vehicle as it fell from the jack. An estimated 18 percent sustained injuries as a result of the jack collapsing or losing pressure while in use. The remaining 8 percent sustained injuries from unspecified or possible jack failures for which insufficient details were given.

An estimated 40 percent of the injuries occurred while the jack was used to facilitate the repair of the vehicle; an estimated 19 percent occurred while the jack was used to lift the vehicle while attempting to change a tire.; an estimated 5 percent were associated with using the jack to raise/lower a vehicle for an unspecified purpose; and in an estimated 36 percent of the cases it was unknown/unspecified how the jack was being used.

Reported injuries spanned a full range including:

  • Contusions
  • Lacerations
  • Fractures
  • Dental
  • Avulsions
  • Internal organs
  • Strains/Sprains
  • Amputations

An estimated 9 percent of the injuries were characterized as serious, while an estimated 4 percent required hospitalization.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured in an Auto Jack Accident?

Alan M. Feldman, a product liability attorney and co-founding partner at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP, said there is simply no room in the marketplace for defective and dangerously designed tools that can permanently injure and kill consumers when used as intended by the manufacturer. Feldman recommends contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible who can help you recover for your pain and suffering, economic losses, emotional distress and medical expenses.

“Recalls of defective products are important, but unfortunately we know from experience that many of these unsafe jack stands will remain in use. If you or someone you know is injured by one of these products, we are ready and willing to offer essential legal assistance.”


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