How to Stay Safe When Operating a Bucket Truck 2


Bucket Truck Safety Guide

Photo Courtesy of Newsday.com

Anytime you’re working high off the ground, potential danger is lurking. In addition to being one of the most resourceful pieces of equipment on a job-site, bucket trucks are also some of the most dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. There’s no two ways about it: inexperience can be fatal.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cited 66 fatalities in 2011 in relation to truck-mounted lifts. Cherry pickers and aerial lifts that aren’t truck mounted are also attributed to deaths of operators. Aside from falling from the bucket, electrocution is a leading cause of on-site accidents when using bucket trucks. Among the many occupations that are prone to accidents when utilizing bucket trucks are construction workers, painters, electrical power installers, carpenters and the most at risk–electricians.

Types of Bucket Truck Injuries

  1. Electrocution – Power line workers are constantly susceptible to being electrocuted by high-voltage lines. Tree trimmers who get too close can get caught in the voltage just with a simple, inadvertent brush.
  2. Hydraulic Failure – Moving the truck while the lift is elevated can cause unstable swinging of the bucket, stressing the hydraulic arm. If the hydraulic lines haven’t been maintained to OSHA standards, likelihood of accident increases.
  3. Falling from Bucket – Half of all falls are due to being ejected from the bucket lift. The truck not being on level ground can cause a tip over that throws the operator out as well as pedestrian vehicles colliding with the truck that creates a violent shaking of the boom.

Sometimes none of the above occur but injury–or even death–is possible. In 2015, a Dothan, Alabama tree trimmer died in a bucket truck accident. The bucket arm was elevated and a nearby tree that was being cut down collapsed on the extended boom, causing the bucket to crash to the ground, killing the operator. Often times it’s not the operators lack of awareness of danger, it’s nearby workers below.

How to Prevent Bucket Truck Accidents

  1. Routine Inspection – All equipment should be inspected before every use. It’s not uncommon for mechanical errors to occur randomly, so follow the guidelines each time. Even if it worked fine yesterday.
  2. Work-Site Awareness – Emergency brakes should be set and the truck should be parked on stable, level ground. No exceptions. All workers in or around the bucket truck work zone have a responsibility to heed the actions above ground and below.
  3. Safety Equipment – Left your hard hat on the other side of the job site and don’t feel like walking back to retrieve it? Too bad. Same with fatigue of putting on and taking off safety harnesses. They won’t do you any good if you don’t have them.
  4. Weight Requirements – Do not exceed the maximum load as advised by the manufacturer. Combining uneven loads with faulty hydraulics is a cocktail of disaster.

Rent Bucket Trucks in Atlanta, GA through Sagon Trucks

Based out of Atlanta, GA and serving most of southeast United States, Sagon Trucks & Equipment can supply you with bucket trucks, digger derricks, forestry trucks, dump trucks and more. Have any other safety question concerns? Feel free to contact us at our company contact page.


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2 thoughts on “How to Stay Safe When Operating a Bucket Truck

  • Drew

    There are a lot of things to be cautious of when working in a bucket truck. The more you are aware of the potential problems, the safer you will be. Thanks for the advice.

  • June Robinson

    I really appreciate when people write about how to be safe on the job. My husband works in this industry, and I always worry about him, even though he says he is safe. I am excited to show him this article so that he can have a better chance of preventing injury. I think all people in the industry should do the same. Thanks for the information!