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4 Quick Tips for Using Your Bucket Truck

bucket truck

Bucket trucks are an essential piece of equipment for workers performing off-the-ground jobs in construction, forestry, utility services, and more. Due to regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), bucket trucks are preferred over ladders and scaffolding because they offer more flexibility to reach elevated areas. It’s important to know what safety standards and guidelines to follow if you’re operating this vehicle, occupying the bucket, or managing the jobsite. To help you out, Equipment Trader has four quick tips for using your bucket truck.

1. Inspect the Bucket Truck Before Use

Before operating the truck, perform an inspection of the vehicle, boom, and bucket. Pay close attention to any broken or damaged parts, tire pressure and wear, and signs of oil or hydraulic fluid leaks. The vehicle should have proper fluid levels, including fuel and coolant, as well as operational steering, brakes, horn, lights, and backup alarms.

In addition to the truck itself, you should also inspect the unit’s lifting components. All operating and emergency controls should be in working order, guardrails should be secured, and warning, operation, instructional and control markings should be visible.

Do not operate the bucket truck if any of these components are not working. If there is an issue, workers should alert a manager to have repairs made.

2. Assess the Jobsite

When you arrive at the worksite, survey the area before bringing the bucket truck to the location. Keep an eye out for potential hazards, both high and low, prior to operating the vehicle and boom. Look for holes and drop offs, slippery and unstable surfaces, overhead obstacles, and more that could put the operator and other on-site workers at risk. Vines, tree branches, poles, and overhanging wires are common on jobsites where bucket trucks are used. If there are unavoidable hazards, come up with a plan on how to safely work around them.

Overhead power lines should always be avoided. Even an insulated bucket can’t completely protect the occupant from the electrical currents of live wires and cables. OSHA recommends maintaining at least 10 feet of clearance between the aerial lifting equipment and power lines.

3. Vehicle Safety and Stability

Park the truck on flat, sturdy ground, and utilize the vehicle’s outriggers for stability. The parking brake should be set when using outriggers to avoid any movement. If the truck is parked on a sloped surface, use wheel chocks to stop the tires from rolling.

Once an occupant is in the bucket, the vehicle should not move while the boom is extended to prevent tip overs.

4. Safety in the Bucket

Workers inside the bucket should keep their feet flat on the floor and avoid leaning over the edge of the bucket. If the bucket needs to be raised, the occupant should extend the boom instead of trying to reach or stand on their toes. While in the bucket, workers should wear a body harness or restraining belt for safety and stability.

Refer to the truck’s owner’s manual for information on the bucket’s load capacity. Exceeding the recommended capacity could cause the bucket and truck to tip over. Be sure to include the combined weight of the worker, tools, and materials when calculating the load.

Bucket trucks can help workers reach great heights, but it’s not without risk. These tips can help enforce safe and efficient operating procedures. Remember, only certified operators who have taken a safety course in aerial lift/bucket truck training should use the equipment. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when handling the bucket truck.

When it’s time for your next bucket truck, browse the for-sale and for-rent units available nationwide at or our sister site


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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

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