Bucket trucks commonly found on many worksites present a unique set of hazards, including risks for falls, tipping over, collisions with objects and contact with electric lines or other dangerous objects. Use these tips to inform workers of potential hazards and to help keep them safe on the job.
Hazards Associated with Bucket Trucks
Fall from elevated level
Objects falling from lifts
Ejections from the bucket/platform
Structural failures (collapses)
Electric shock (electrocutions)
Contact with objects
The major causes of fatalities are falls, electrocutions and collapses/tip overs.
Bucket Truck Safety Checklists
Before Starting Work:
Make sure workers who operate aerial lifts are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment.
Maintain and operate equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Perform a daily safety / “circle check” of the vehicle to look for hazards, identify damage and ensure tires and other parts are sound. Ensure no parts are leaking oil or hydraulic fluid.
Check safety features to be sure sure required safety equipment and signage is in place, including required decals and stickers on and around the boom.
On the Ground:
Park on level, stable ground
Use outriggers, if provided
Do not operate an aerial lift in wind speeds above those recommended by the manufacturer
Watch for overhead obstructions
Never override hydraulic, mechanical or electrical safety devices
Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer
Set the brakes and use wheel chocks if you must park on an incline
Never put the truck against an object such as a building or another vehicle in an effort to stabilize it
Never use a bucket truck as a crane
In the Bucket:
Use a body harness or restraining belt with a lanyard attached to the boom or basket to prevent workers from being ejected or pulled from the basket. Compute the fall distance before performing each task.
Keep both feet on the floor
Make sure there is no debris on the floor that could present a trip hazard
Never sit or stand on the edge of the bucket itself
Do not place any item in the bucket to try to increase work height (ladders, step stools)
Do not try to climb down from the bucket when it is raised
Do not exceed the load limits of the equipment. Allow for the combined weight of the worker, tools and materials.
Do not exceed vertical or horizontal reach limits.
Do not push or pull the bucket toward anything
Maintain a minimum clearance of at least 10 feet, or 3 meters, away from the nearest energized overhead lines.
Always treat power lines, wires and other conductors as energized, even if they are down or appear to be insulated.