Best Practices: Sign Truck Safety

Operator training

Employees must be equipped with adequate fall protection gear, such as a harness with a lanyard and body belt.

Employees must be equipped with adequate fall protection gear, such as a harness with a lanyard and body belt.

One of the leading causes of accidents associated with aerial lift trucks and this line of work is poor operator knowledge and a lack of training. With this in mind, the following should be remembered:

Read the manual

As much as one may hate to do so, reading the operator’s manual will provide a lot of insight. By fully understanding the manual, a sign installer can maximize the potential of the installation equipment
by using it to its full capacity.

Get familiar with the truck

There are several types of aerial lift vehicles. Regardless of the type of truck(s) a company currently owns, employees should only operate the machinery once they are familiar with it. That said, if an employee is unfamiliar with the truck and all of its moving parts, he/she should not even turn the engine on.

Emergency training

Always conduct regular training sessions. Inform employees what purpose the truck serves and how it can be used. This is also the time to plan procedures in the event of an emergency.

Harness safety

Any job performed above-ground requires workers to wear a safety harness. This fall-arrest equipment has saved many lives in the sign installation field. That said, these harnesses must be inspected regularly to check for signs of damage such as wear and tear, chemical process, burn, frays, abrasions, holes, and cuts. Perform these inspections before each use and make sure it is working properly.

Harnesses have a life-expectancy, too. Therefore, it is important to check with the safety equipment manufacturer to determine how long it should last and what the proper method is to clean and maintain it.

Safety is paramount

A sign truck is a very useful and powerful tool when operated by someone who is properly trained. Conversely, it can be extremely dangerous in the hands of someone who has no idea how to operate the equipment. Every job has its risks; however, armed with the right knowledge and applying every safety measure possible will help to avoid any mishaps.

Finally, always shut the truck down after each use and never leave the keys in the ignition. This will keep unauthorized persons out and prevent them from causing damage to the workplace and/or the truck.

Jeff Stutt has more than 29 years of industry-related business experience. He has built and repaired cranes, and has driven trucks across North America. Stutt worked in new and used truck sales before transitioning into the boom truck industry more than 19 years ago. Along the way, he has helped numerous companies find the best solutions for delivering and unloading their products. He can be reached via e-mail at

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