Boom trucks, also known as bucket trucks or cherry pickers, allow workers to access high, remote locations which can otherwise be difficult to reach. These trucks (named after the hydraulic “boom” pole that allows workers to be lifted in a bucket) are mounted on tracks or tires, making them a much easier, faster and affordable alternative to traditional cranes.
While industries like construction, utilities and fire rescue all depend on these versatile trucks to get the job done, there are few important things to keep in mind if your job requires you to be hoisted in one. If not done safely, working from a boom truck can come with a lot of life-threatening risks.
Trigger warning: the following video displays a workplace accident where a crane throws two men (protected by fall protection) from a boom truck. It may be difficult to watch for some – discretion is advised.
To ensure that you’re working safely, it’s important to ask yourself these four questions before working from the bucket of a boom truck.
1. Do I have the right fall protection equipment?
Just like with any other working-at-heights platform, donning the appropriate fall protection when working up high from the bucket of a boom truck is a must. That means having the appropriate harness, lanyard and accessories like a safety bucket or dropped-tools tethers. Be sure to remember the three cardinal rules when working*:
- You must clip your lanyard to the approved anchor point.
- You must keep your feet on the floor of the bucket at all times.
- You must never tie off to an adjacent structure or anchor point outside of the bucket.
2. What PPE should I be wearing?
This all depends on your job. If you’re required to wear a hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, hand protection or steel-toe boots on your work site, the same goes for when you’re working from a boom truck.
3. Is lockout/tagout required?
Hazardous energy is defined in the CSA Z460-13 standards as “any electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, nuclear, thermal, gravitational, or other energy that can harm personnel.” If your task involves hazardous energy, proper lockout/tagout procedures must be followed to isolate yourself from its source.
4. What’s my emergency plan?
If there’s ever a situation where the boom truck you’re working from gets stuck or can’t be lowered to safety, it’s important to have an emergency descent solution ready. At Levitt-Safety we offer the latest products for this application.
If you’re looking to learn more, be sure to take part in our online Boom Truck Safety course. This two-hour training provides you with everything you need to know in order to safely inspect, maintain and operate boom trucks. Topics include:
- Hydraulic boom truck components
- Types of inspections
- Pre-lift hazard assessments
- Crane owner, operator and supervisor responsibilities
- Load chart components
- Net capacity and total load calculations
- Safe operating practices
- Outrigger usage
- Standard crane hand signals
Have questions about your safety preparedness program? Be sure to reach out to us today. We’re here to help you with any of the products, training or services you need to ensure that you get home safe, always.