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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Are Outriggers and Their Impact on Bucket Trucks?

Using bucket trucks is very common in many aerial professions such as construction workers and electrical workers, and this useful piece of equipment is capable of lifting workers to high heights. One of the greatest contributions to many industries by these powerful and complex machines is making any aerial task easier.

These machines should be treated with respect because if they are poorly handled, it may put its operators in tremendous amounts of dangers. The operator's prime responsibility in any aerial application is ensuring that the best safety practices are implemented. For this reason, it is important for operators to be well-versed in the different truck parts, including ground supports.

This part is a leg-type device attached to the piece of equipment for added support during a lift. This truck part can be manipulated by a control knob or other release control mechanism, and they should be laid on solid and stable ground. The operator must make sure that the ground is not muddy, and that the pads can be laid on the ground for added stability.

Pads

Pads should be laid on flat surfaces especially if the piece of equipment has smaller support legs. These pads are helpful to distribute the weight load of the whole vehicle, and when using several pads of different sizes, ensure that the smaller pad is on top of the larger pad. There is a wide range of especially designed pads available that are made durably with tested load capacity of up to 24,000 lbs per pad.

Tip-Over

Tip-over is one of the most dangerous potential hazards that all operators face when operating a bucket truck. In order to prevent such situations from happening, the bucket should only be raised when the supports are laid on the ground. In addition, fall protection such as a lanyard or safety harness should be worn at all times, workers should not surpass the bucket lifting capacity, and operators should avoid lifting operations when high winds are present at the work site.

Proper Support Placement

When this tool is not set right or properly placed, it can be a threat to the operator's safety. These tools should be properly placed on the ground. To remain safe while the process of lowering down occurs, the worker should make sure that the higher one is let down first and then the lower one. This will help to protect the worker, especially if they are not paying close attention to the process and accidentally pull up the lower one first while forgetting that the higher one is already jacked out. This can result in the breaking of the lower one or possibly cause the truck to tip-over. By letting down the higher support leg first, the equipment is ensured not to tip over if the lower one is mistakenly raised first.

Safety Practices

In addition to employing well-trained personnel to complete any projects where bucket trucks are needed, it is essential that the operator upholds safety practices as well. Accidents can happen if an operator is lazy, or wrongfully uses the piece of equipment. Safety practices start even before going out on the road for a task. Make sure that outriggers are working properly by checking the controls. When an operator senses that there's something wrong with the control functions, or any signs of physical damage to the outriggers, these must be reported to the company's technician for immediate repairs.

Finally, outriggers are another bucket truck part that is essential in supporting the vehicle during a lift. This very useful tool should be well taken care of and properly operated, especially during the deployment of its support mechanism, to make sure the stability of the whole equipment is maximized.

Christopher M. Hunter is an expert in commercial specialty trucks. Click here to find out more about Bucket Trucks.


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