Boom Lift | Usage

A boom lift goes by many names – cherry picker, man lift, elevated work platform, basket crane – but what is it, exactly? A boom lift is essentially a type of aerial work platform used by personnel to reach high places. A basic boom lift consists of a platform, or bucket, with a long, jointed crane run by a hydraulic lift system and attached to a grounded base. Sometimes a boom lift is mounted on a truck or van, while the bucket is designed to safely house a person, who must be able to perform work at high elevations.

There are several different kinds of aerial lifts, yet the boom lift works especially for hard to reach areas that are also considered dangerous. There are also boom lifts specialized for different situations. For example, an aerial lift is often used by ski lodges to transport skiers up and down the ski slope.

A boom lift can be used in several different professions in every day life. Firefighters, for example, may depend on boom lifts on the back of fire trucks instead of ladders. Other professions a boom lift is commonly used for includes window cleaning, construction, foresting, mining, electrical and cable repair, and even painting. In the film industry, boom lifts are used to suspend large lights over the soundstage and are known as condors.

How Boom Lifts are Used

Often boom lift operators must be licensed to use any kind of aerial lift. Without state or federally-mandated qualifications, personnel will not be legally able to use a boom lift. Following the code of safety is the most important part of operating a boom lift, as serious injuries or even death can result in ill use.

  1. Inspect the boom lift before use. Inspect any of the hydraulic hoses and fittings for leaks. Check the air pressure in the tires.
  2. Start the boom lift with no person in the basket. Operate the control panel from the ground, checking to see that every function is in good working order. Switch the active input to platform so you can operate the boom lift from the basket.
  3. Strap on a safety harness. When in the basket, latch the attachment of your safety harness onto the proper attachment in the basket.
  4. Examine the area around you and check for any potential hazards, such as downed power lines, loose soil or any other obstacles. Also be sure you steer clear of power lines as an overhead hazard.
  5. Steer your boom lift into the target area, again making sure you steer clear of any sudden hazards. Adjust the angles and height of your boom arms accordingly. If you’re working in a rather tight area, retracting your arms in the reverse order in which you extended is an easy way to get out.
  6. Perform the work required and lower the boom lift to its locked position. Bring the arms low enough to the point where you can safely exit the basket. Shut down the boom lift at the ground.


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