Forklifts are unique, a useful vehicle that has been designed for some very specific uses that enhance the safety of the work being done. Using bucket trucks for just those specific jobs is an easy and safe decision to make, after which the main focus is on knowing the best way to use the vehicle. An often overlooked safety detail that is actually quite important is the correct location of this useful aerial forklift; It can make the difference between job success and failure.
Although bucket trucks are equipped with articulated cranes and rotating buckets that can swing in almost any direction to get to the right places, the location of the vehicle for any job is critical. The main consideration when deciding how to position a bucket truck is to find the best and safest location based on the ground surface, the type of crane, and access to the work area. By following OSHA guidelines on use and positioning for the different types of work being performed, safety will have been maximized in most cases. Therefore, before starting work, it is essential to analyze the work environment to find the best way to work.
Positioning and obstacles
According to OSHA, the best location for any aerial lift vehicle is where the truck, crane pedestal, and bucket are in front of the post and work area, providing optimal access. If there are obstacles in the way, or if the ground is uneven, damaged, or soft, other approaches should be taken for a safe setup.
When it comes to a physical obstacle preventing the ideal location of the vehicle, it is important to find a good configuration that provides easy access while being aware of the position of the primary and secondary electrical cables. The best option would be not to maneuver through the two sets of cables; however, sometimes you must be careful to reach an area on the other side of a pole. In this case, the bucket truck should be positioned so that the pedestal is behind the pole; the boom can then be carefully guided over or under the branch lines to reach the assembly to be accessed.
Ground surface concerns
The best surface for a bucket truck will always be clean, flat, and in good condition concrete or pavement. When this is not feasible, adjustments must be made. Close attention should be paid to parking over storm drains, curbs, or broken asphalt, as the material could break and / or collapse under the weight of the truck. On soft ground, it is recommended to use steel skids to prevent vehicles from getting stuck.
It is important to remember when standing on a surface such that once the bucket goes up, the balance of the vehicle will change; therefore, the parking lot should be where it will remain stable, unaffected by the weight change of the rising boom. On sloping terrain, a vehicle should be parked facing up the slope, with the pole facing the crane pedestal. In this way, the changing weight of the hoisting crane leans over most of the vehicle, keeping everything balanced. The opposite position could allow the vehicle to roll backwards.
Regardless of the position of the truck, there is one detail that OSHA insists on following: the use of the vehicle’s stabilizers. Properly extended to block lean to the most vulnerable sides, outriggers are an essential part of good positioning and roll prevention.
These tips may seem simple; however, it is important to understand how to maneuver a bucket truck and position it correctly despite any obstacles or hazards. By taking the extra time to verify and re-verify the location of bucket trucks, a safe work area can be achieved and the risk of an accident is greatly reduced.