Tips for operating a bucket truck

Accidents could easily happen when operating a bucket truck. While you won’t be able to prevent some of the accidents caused by others, you could definitely minimize the hazards. Safety isn’t just about ensuring that the equipment is working properly. Safety at the work site and ensuring that rubberneckers don’t run into the truck, the boom or the team.

Safety Checks

Every day, check the truck and the equipment before you head out on a job. Look for any damage, leaks, broken or missing parts, the integrity of the welds and the lighting.

Once you get to the work site, check the area carefully. Park on even ground if at all possible. Make sure the wheels are chocked and there are no overhead obstructions. Set the emergency brake and check wind speeds. If gusts are over 30 mph or an electrical storm is brewing, complete this work at another time.

Furthermore, take stock of the traffic patterns. If you are working at a complex intersection, use more than the standard safety equipment, including extra signage, a police officer to direct traffic and plenty of cones. Light signs and cones should be placed in plenty of time to warn drivers of your presence. If the boom is expected to go over a second lane, both lanes should be blocked off on a three-plus lane roadway.

If the road is a two-lane road and you can’t block off both lanes, be sure to have two people directing traffic. The traffic directors should stop all traffic while the boom is over the unblocked lane unless the vehicles are low and the boom is high.


Working in a bucket is very dangerous. Anything could happen, such as a driver who is not paying attention hitting the truck, even with all of the safety equipment, cones, lights and other items directing vehicles away from the truck. People generally want to see what is going on, and they’re paying more attention to the bucket instead of what is in front of them.

While you are in the bucket, always keep your feet on the floor, strap in, stay off the edge of the bucket, keep ladders and step stools out of the bucket and wear fall protection.

Tip-overs could also happen. Avoid these by parking on level ground, mind the bucket capacity and only move the truck when the bucket is lowered. Check that a tire isn’t in a pot hole on otherwise level ground, as this could also cause a tip-over, if the hole is large enough. High winds could also cause tip-overs. And of course, watch for electrical hazards.

Contact Drake-Scruggs

Many of these safety tips seem like common sense. However, operators may get careless after some time on the job. And, of course, you can never predict what someone else is going to do. If your equipment needs to be replaced to ensure your safety, contact Drake-Scruggs to update your equipment with new bucket trucks or to purchase a new fleet for a new company.