While bucket truck operators should have received training before going out on a job, everyone could use a reminder of the tips for safely operating an aerial lift, more commonly known as a bucket truck. This includes administrative workers, company executives, and owners. Fatalities may happen because of electrocution, falls, tip-overs and collapses. Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are safe in their use of a bucket truck.
Safe Work Practices
OSHA, via the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and ANSI have several laws and rules regulating the safety of working with bucket trucks, including 29 CFR 1910.67 and A92.5 (ANSI). Safe work practices include:
- Ensuring that workers are properly trained in the use of bucket trucks and all equipment on the trucks, including the aerial lift.
- Ensuring that the lifts are maintained and are operating pursuant to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Knowing to not override the mechanical, electrical and/or hydraulic safety devices.
- Never moving the equipment while anyone is in the bucket unless specifically permitted by the manufacturer.
- Never moving the equipment while the bucket is in a raised position unless permitted by the manufacturer.
- Keeping a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet from energized lines.
- Using a body harness whenever in the bucket.
- Knowing to treat power lines as if they are energized, even if they are not or if they seem to have insulation on them.
- Setting the brakes and using wheel chocks.
- Using outriggers if they are provided and/or required.
- Knowing the load limits of the equipment.
Additional Practices for Operating Bucket Trucks
Prior to leaving for a job site, inspect the equipment and perform function tests. Ensure that all alarms, level sensors, and other safety devices are working properly. Do not operate any equipment should it fail any tests, but red-tag it for repair.
At the job site, ensure you set up on as level a place as possible. Watch for holes, drop-offs, unstable surfaces, slippery surfaces, slopes, power lines, other overhead obstacles and any other hazards that could interfere with your work. Take extra care during winter months, especially if you expect black ice to be in the area.
Make sure all safety equipment is in place and is being used on the job site, including a full body harness that is properly fitted. Stay off the guardrails if your bucket truck is equipped with a platform instead of a bucket. Should you need to access a small confined space, use a device that is approved by the manufacturer to access a place where the bucket/platform will not fit.
Make sure you have been properly trained to exit the bucket/platform. Do not climb down the boom when it is raised. Ensure that you have a rescue plan should the boom not lower when a worker is in the air.
If you need bucket trucks or need to replace equipment on the bucket truck, contact Drake-Scruggs to discuss your needs.