Staying safe in a bucket truck when the weather is perfect is hard enough, never mind when the weather is cold and nasty. And icy. Extra precautions should be taken when you are working with bucket trucks – and you will most likely have a lot of work when winter storms start knocking power out. No matter what brand of bucket truck you are working out of, ice could build up in the bucket or it could slide on icy surfaces while you are in the bucket.
Safety in the Bucket
No matter what the weather is, you should always stay in the bucket and not climb up on the sides. This especially applies during the winter when the bucket could be slippery. If there is ice in the bottom of the bucket, get as much out as possible before using the bucket. Place a rubber mat fitted to the floor of the bucket in the bottom of the bucket to keep yourself from slipping if the bottom is still slippery. Be sure to take care getting in and out of the bucket, too, as the outside surface of the truck could be slippery, especially during ice storms.
Driving Safety Tips
Look for black ice while you are driving around in a storm or in cold weather. While it’s hard to see most of the time, sometimes the side of the road will give you a clue. If you are working in an area where water normally runs across the road due to rains, snow melt or other reasons, just assume that area has black ice.
Keep your speed down, even if it seems like you have good traction. If the plows and salt trucks haven’t been on the road you’re working on, there could be ice under the snow. The heavy bucket truck gives you an advantage in the snow, but it’s a big disadvantage if there is ice under the snow. You’ll slide a lot farther than if you were driving a lighter vehicle because of the weight of the vehicle.
Working Safety Tips
In many cases, you may have to reach power lines that are at the edge of a slope or ditch. If the hydraulic levelers are on an icy patch, the truck could slide while you are in the bucket. Make sure the area under the levelers is clear of ice if at all possible. If you must work on an icy hill, be sure to use the appropriate wheel blocks to help keep the truck from sliding.
Always inspect the bucket truck before you take it out, especially in the winter. Make sure the hydraulics are working properly and that the hoses don’t have cracks in them from the cold or from wear and tear. And, you should always keep an emergency kit with you in the truck. It should include a first aid kit, a warm blanket, extra jackets, high-energy food, extra water and a flashlight. Dress warmly while you are out working, especially if you are the one who spends the most time in the bucket. Keep a thermos of hot coffee or hot cocoa in the truck to help you warm up.
If it’s time for newly updated equipment, visit Drake-Scruggs to learn more about the newest bucket trucks we have available.