Jim Olson

3 Tips for Site-Conscious Aerial Device Setup


Aerial devices are among the most important pieces of equipment in a utility company’s fleet. They are another tool in the utility’s toolbox and – like any other tool – must be properly used and maintained.

While it's the responsibility of the employer to ensure that each individual operator is correctly trained and qualified to operate an aerial device, it takes the whole crew to contribute to safe and efficient operations. Following are three important steps crews should take before work starts on any project that requires use of an aerial device, plus real-world tips from Garry Christopherson, director of safety and security for Dairyland Power Cooperative in La Crosse, Wis.

Step 1: Conduct a site survey.

  • Identify potential hazards, such as buildings, ditches, drop-offs, holes, debris, sewers, overhead obstructions, electrical conductors and underground utilities.
  • Evaluate the ground conditions. The ground must be firm enough to bear the pressure produced by the bucket truck – including the maximum platform and jib loads – during operation. You may need to use pads under the outriggers to distribute the weight over a greater surface area. If your bucket truck does not have outriggers, or if it is equipped with only one set, make sure all the tires and axle suspension springs are equally loaded. If the ground is slippery, snowy or icy, consider how to prevent the vehicle from sliding.
  • Consider the terrain. If the vehicle must be parked on a slope, keep the boom on the uphill side, chock the wheels and work off the rear of the truck. Per ANSI A92.2, bucket trucks are stability-tested on firm, flat surfaces up to a 5-degree slope. Never work on a slope greater than what is allowed by the manufacturer. Use your bucket truck’s chassis level indicator to make sure the truck is always set within the manufacturer’s operational limits. Most aerial truck manufacturers, including Terex, equip their vehicles with an inclinometer that is used to determine if the truck is set up within the allowable limits. Follow the instructions for your vehicle, and recognize that some trucks must be leveled before raising the booms.
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Amber Reed

Important Considerations When Spec’ing Lift Controls

Important Considerations When Spec’ing Lift Controls

The lift control panel on an aerial device is an important element for effectively running the unit, enabling the working platform to be propelled into a desired location. Similar to how a steering wheel gives a truck-mounted aerial device mobility to get to and from a job site, the lift control panel gives the machine’s operators the ability to quickly and easily position the platform into the work area.

But because the operator control station is relatively small, it’s not always top of mind when new units are being spec’d. Given the importance of lift controls on aerial devices, however, following are some insights to consider when spec’ing them.

The foundation of every control panel is the ability for operators to use it to control the aerial device’s vertical longitudinal (or extend-and-retract) and rotational (or side-to-side) movements. For instance, most aerial device control stations are equipped with a single joystick. The joystick is designed to give operators control of the machine’s boom functions from one handle. “A common industry standard on an aerial device’s lift control panel is a three-function joystick,” said Dan Brenden, director of engineering for Terex Utilities (www.terex.com/utilities). “This type of joystick allows operators to move the individual booms up and down, as well as to rotate the unit.”

Four-function single joysticks are available as an option. This type of joystick enables operators to extend and retract the boom on articulating models, or it can operate elevator sections, if equipped, giving users even more control and functionality from one joystick. According to Brenden, “Terex uses similar single joystick designs across its entire aerial device product line, keeping uniformity within the brand, so from the smallest to largest machines, all controls function the same for the operator.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Evaluating Medium-Duty Powertrain Options for Aerial Trucks

Evaluating Medium-Duty Powertrain Options for Aerial Trucks

Aerial lift trucks are built for low-mileage, high-engine-hour duty cycles, with unique payload requirements. So what should you consider in terms of the powertrain – the engine, transmission and drive axle options – to spec the best chassis for the job? Utility Fleet Professional spoke with Ryan Kloos, chassis technical coordinator for aerial platform manufacturer Terex Corp., to get his advice.

We centered the conversation around an example of a Class 7 chassis, rated up to 33,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW), that might be used for a 50-foot aerial application. This is because smaller trucks typically have only a few engines, transmissions and drive axles to choose from. But when you move up to a Class 7 or heavier chassis, the specification process gets much more complex, with some models offering more than a dozen different powertrain configurations that can significantly impact the truck’s highway speed, fuel economy, performance and price.

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Kate Wade

19 Exciting Utility Fleet Products and Services for 2015


Product: Ultra Pad Safety Edge
Company: Bigfoot Construction Equipment
Web: www.outriggerpads.com

Bigfoot Construction Equipment offers the all-new Ultra Pad Safety Edge, which helps to prevent the outrigger from slipping off the outrigger pad. Call 888-743-7320 for more information.

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Sean M. Lyden

Shedding Weight of Utility Fleet Upfits to Boost Payload and Productivity

ETI-1-WebNew diesel emissions aftertreatment devices – including diesel particulate filters, selective catalytic reduction systems and diesel exhaust fluid tanks – have added considerable weight to medium- and heavy-duty truck chassis in recent years. This has contributed to a payload challenge for many fleet managers, especially for those utility fleets operating Class 7 and 8 digger derrick and aerial platform trucks. They’re looking to keep their trucks within a certain weight range to comply with federal bridge laws and, if possible, avoid having to bump up to a larger chassis that may require a federal excise tax.

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Sean M. Lyden

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Spec’ing Aerial Platform Trucks

Lyden-Altec-1-WebConsidering that aerial platform trucks, also known as boom or bucket trucks, often carry a hefty six-figure price tag, it pays to confirm that the chassis, body and aerial equipment specifications fit the job before issuing the purchase order. The stakes are high because spec errors result in disruptive downtime, lost productivity and increased safety risks, taking a chunk out of a fleet’s bottom line.

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UFP Staff

A92.2: The 2009 Standard

a92.2_standardThe Accredited Standard Committee (ASC) A92.2 Subcommittee for Vehicle Mounted Rotating and Elevating Aerial Devices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has issued the long-awaited 2009 edition of the American National Standard for Vehicle Mounted Rotating and Elevated Aerial Devices.

Design and construction requirements of the original 1969 edition of A92.2 and its appendix were made a part of OSHA in 1970. Since then, the standard has been reissued in four editions in 1979, 1990 and 2001, and most recently in 2009. The 2009 Draft of the Standard was balloted twice by the committee and by ANSI rules was opened for public comment prior to final approval.

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