Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bucket trucks or "Cherry Pickers" fall under OSHA standard guidelines for safety

Bucket trucks are used for a number of industries and can be seen along roadsides every day. For example, have you ever driven down the road and watched as the local telephone or utilities company rides in a bucket to the top of a pole to fix something? If so, then you have seen a bucket truck. This is exactly what a bucket truck is used for - lifting and lowering workers to places too tall for ladders.

These trucks are sold in a number of sizes and shapes, each to help make work easier. While the bucket truck is used for many different purposes, the most common is power linemen. By using this type of equipment, they can complete their work in a comfortable, safe, and efficient manner, primarily where steel or concrete poles are used.

The design of the bucket truck includes a storage bin that is perfect for holding tools and material needed by the worker. In addition, some bucket trucks are designed with a single or double-arm boom or a hydraulic outrigger jack, which provides extra stability. You will also find some designs that are powered by the actual truck engine while others are operated with an auxiliary engine that is mounted on the back section of the truck.

Just remember that while the bucket truck is easy to operate and can make the job much easier to complete, this is still a large piece of equipment that needs to be handled properly. When the manufacturer’s operation is followed, the worker will experience a smooth, safe ride while keeping maintenance to a minimum.

Bucket trucks fall under OSHA standard guidelines, which must be adhered to for safety. Some of the requirements for using a bucket truck under these rules include:

  • The truck should be used to elevate employees to any job site located above ground.
  • The bucket truck can be constructed of wood, fiberglass, metal, or reinforced plastic.
  • Bucket trucks may be modified for use other than the intended use but only if approval to the modification is received in writing by the manufacturer or equal authority.
  • For bucket trucks to be used near electrical power lines, strict requirements must be followed, which includes keeping to a specific distance, de-energizing procedures, only qualified employees using the truck, grounding any overhead lines, and so on.
  • The brakes must be set
  • Bucket trucks should never be driven while employees are still in the bucket
  • Controls must be clearly and visibly marked and defined by function
  • Controls should be tested every day prior to the bucket truck being used
  • Load and distribution should always be checked to make sure they fall within the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Any employee operating the bucket truck must wear appropriate protective gear at all times to include safety goggles, safety boots, a hard hat, gloves, etc. to protect from falling objects
  • The employee must keep his feel planted firmly on the floor of the bucket at all times
  • The lower controls should not be operated without the permission of the employee in the bucket expect in the case of an emergency

These are just a few of the many rules that fall under OSHA guidelines to ensure top safety when using a bucket truck. However, when employees are trained and the truck used the proper way, this piece of equipment can provide years of support in the workplace. Just remember, this is a large truck and if not handled according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and OSHA guidelines, injury or worse could occur.

Therefore, while a bucket truck can save tremendous time and effort, it definitely needs to be respected for the powerful machine that it is. For the business owner, the key to safety is training. You can obtain a number of excellent tapes for drivers and bucket truck operators to watch through OSHA or directly from the truck manufacturer

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