Safe Practices to Follow While Using a Bucket Truck at a Worksite

Safe Practices to Follow While Operating a Bucket Truck

Bucket trucks are common tools used by lineman while performing maintenance on live lines. Along with proper training, it’s important to consistently review the Operator’s Manual to understand how to correctly use the bucket truck per the manufacturer’s instructions. The following are just a few tips to follow at the worksite while using a bucket truck:   


When Operating the Boom while Inside the Bucket: 

  1. Properly position and stabilize the aerial before operation.  Set all outriggers on solid footing within the allowable slope permitted by the manufacturer. 

  1. When operating the boom, operate in smooth, gradual movements — avoid abrupt starts, stops and reversals of direction. 

  1. Bucket trucks are only designed to lift personnel, do not use them to lift or lower objects unless the aerial device was specifically designed, equipped, and marked on the ID plate as capable to do so. 

  1. Operators must always stand with both feet on the floor of the bucket — do not sit or climb onto the edge, or use planks, ladders, or other devices to gain additional work height. 

  1. Make sure that no part of your bucket truck, including the boom and platform, comes into contact with fixed objects like trees, buildings or utility poles. 

  1. Always maintain proper minimum approach distance based on your qualifications from energized power lines.  

  1. Your bucket truck cannot protect you from phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground contact at the boom tip, which means you need to allow for sag, sway or rocking as you are positioning and operating your aerial device.  

  1. If any part of the boom touches an energized object, it should be considered energized. If any part of the boom contacts a grounded object, it should be considered grounded. 

  1. If you become aware of any dangerous condition, unusual operation or unusual sound while operating your bucket truck, stop all movements immediately.  


Ground Personnel Take Note: 

  1. Never move the vehicle while personnel are in the bucket.  

  1. Once the bucket is raised and the boom is in motion, do not adjust outriggers. 

  1. To protect yourself from falling debris or objects stay out from under the aerial device work area. 

  1. Do not touch the vehicle or any attachments while the booms are raised. 

  1. All ground personnel must know how to operate the aerial from the lower controls in case of emergency.  

  1. When experiencing a dangerous condition, do not move the truck until the problem has been diagnosed and resolved. No matter how long it may take to get help, it’s critical to the safety of the operators, and bystanders, to resolve the situation using good judgment and common sense. 


When the project is done, properly stow the boom by lowering it to fit securely in the boom rest and locking it into place with the hold down system to prevent bouncing during transport. Remember to fully retract the outriggers and disengage the power take-off unit. And of course, when driving away from the site, always remember to wear your seatbelt and to obey all applicable traffic laws.