When the work platform or bucket is raised and the boom is extended, the truck’s centre of gravity will also change. Further, the worker and his/her tools add to the weight which can increase the chance of a tip-over. To avoid this from happening, operators should always park the truck on level ground comprising a sturdy base. Do not attempt to park the truck above gravel, sand, or soft earth.
If the aerial lift truck has outriggers, they should be properly positioned and fully extended before the work platform is raised. The truck should not be stabilized by parking it next to a building or another vehicle, and the brakes must be engaged.
Workers should be aware the load capacity of the bucket is limited and any tool they bring with them affects the capacity. Sign installation trucks should only be used as they are intended. They should not be used as cranes, whereby filling the work platform with objects to lift them up and transport them to another area, as this will increase the risk of the truck tipping over.
Further, operators should know whether or not the truck can be moved while its platform is raised and extended. If the manufacturer does not provide any specific information about this type of manoeuvre, it should not be performed.
Check the weather
Aerial lifts should not be operated during strong winds, as this can not only cause a truck to tip over, but also cause a worker to lose his/her balance while inside the bucket. Sign installers should check with the truck’s manufacturer to determine which wind speeds it can be operated in safely. When it comes to weather uncertainties in regards to performing elevated jobs, safety is priority. These jobs can wait until the weather improves.
Watch out for obstructions
Some aerial lifts have buckets that can protrude beyond the edges of the truck. If this is the case, the driver must be sure to check for any possible obstructions (e.g. buildings, vehicles, and pedestrians). It is essential to know the truck’s vertical clearance.
Also, stay clear from building overhangs and bridges, and be careful not to collide with low-level tree branches. If the truck is being driven into an area with any form of obstruction, the best strategy is to slow down. This is the only way one can minimize any damage in the event of an unintended collision.
Finally, when driving or operating the aerial lift, do not forget to keep a lookout for electric lines and other energized equipment, too. Most platform areas and buckets are insulated, but a worker could be injured by a live wire.
Prior to starting each shift, the truck operator should inspect the vehicle. Operators must also pay attention to the truck’s safety features, as well as check for any hydraulic liquid or oil leaks. When inspecting the truck’s exterior, it is important to check the tires in regards to air pressure as well as wear and tear. Finally, every button and lever on the truck should be clearly identified so operators know which ones can be touched and those that are off limits.
Ensure proper operation
Before using the truck, the aerial lift and boom controls should be tested to make sure they are working properly. They should move freely without making any unusual sounds. All electrical and hydraulic lines should be checked and the steering and brakes should be tested. If the operator is unsure about what items to check, he/she should get assistance from an experienced driver or ask for assistance from the truck manufacturer.