Bucket Trucks
Bucket trucks, also called boom trucks, are versatile pieces of mechanical equipment employed in several industries such as agriculture, construction, warehousing, forestry, electric, and utility. As the name implies, their base is a (diesel or gasoline-powered/hybrid) truck, fixed with a boom, with a man-carrying bucket or platform attached to the boom’s end.
Originally employed in agriculture as ‘cherry picker’ trucks, their potential for application in other fields was quickly identified, sparking their widespread use. This was mainly because of the increased safety for working at height, mobility, and cost efficiency.

Bucket Truck Uses

The main function of bucket trucks is to provide manned access to elevated work areas. They are preferable to other means, such as ladders, thanks to their greater reach, improved safety, greater site accessibility, and capacity to lift several people (depending on the type) at a time. Some specific uses of bucket trucks across industries include:
  • Fruit picking
  •  Electrical and utility maintenance
  •  Emergency services: rescue and fire extinguishing
  •  Aerial photography
  •  Construction building access

Types of Bucket Trucks

Thanks to their various uses, manufacturers have specialized in the type of bucket trucks they produce. These classifications are specific to the functionality of the boom.
  1. Articulating Bucket Truck: Also known as knuckle booms, these bucket trucks are equipped with a jointed boom that creates more access options to heights. There are two types:
    1. Overcenter Articulating Bucket Trucks: The boom only raises the bucket above the truck. This allows for safer frequent lifts as the bucket essentially only moves up and down.
    2. Non-Overcenter Articulating Bucket Trucks: The boom can lift the bucket beyond the center line above the truck enabling reach to either side and behind the truck. The lateral flexibility provides more access options in case of obstacles, and is preferred in forestry, utility, and construction.
  2. Telescopic Articulating Bucket Trucks: These bucket trucks are able to extend one or more sections of the articulating boom through the use of a hydraulic system, creating an even wider range of reach to worksites at height.
  3. Telescopic Bucket Truck: The booms for these trucks focus on the capacity to extend their reach. This is done from the operator panel in the bucket that controls the hydraulic extension system.
  4. Insulated Bucket Trucks: As the name implies, these bucket trucks are insulated to prevent the conduction of an electric current. This is achieved through the use of non-conductive materials in parts (bucket) or throughout the equipment’s structure (upper boom, elbow, and truck chassis). Utility and construction work makes great use of insulated bucket trucks.
  5. Track-Mounted Bucket Trucks: For work on rough (gravel, sand), uneven (farms, swamps), and sloping terrain, track bucket trucks make a viable alternative. The increased surface area of ground contact, as well as increased traction translates into greater stability, improving work safety.
Bucket trucks are available in different sizes even within the type. It is therefore prudent to consider the intended use, and decide on the best truck for the job. Some factors to consider include:
  •  Terrain of the worksite
  •  Frequency of raising and lowering the bucket/platform
  •  Proximity to live cables
  •  Working height – elevation required to reach the work area
  •  Number of personnel and/or equipment to be lifted (weight capacity)
  •  Side reach – lateral extension while elevated

Do Bucket Truck Training With Total Equipment Training Today!

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that the operator of any type of bucket truck must receive training before legally participating in bucket truck operations. The training should be specific to the type of bucket truck. The training is composed of a written and practical examination which is compliant with OSHA and ASME Standards.
Total Equipment Training offers a comprehensive, OSHA-compliant Bucket Truck Training program that will equip you and your team with the necessary competencies to safely and efficiently operate bucket trucks. We also provide a diverse array of Training Programs and Inspection Services for the heavy and construction industries, backed by experienced industry professionals from across the nation. Reach out to TET today and see how they can ensure compliance, improve safety, and drive efficiency in your work sites.

Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.