Maintenance is necessary for safe and consistent operation of bucket trucks. Only qualified workers should be allowed to service or maintenance a vehicle. It is advised that, while you are working on the bucket trucks, you attach a tag or sign to the starter or steering wheel stating to not operate. If you don’t need to start the truck while working on it, you should take the key out of the ignition.
Preparing your work area is integral to safety. You must have a level and clean working area with plenty of room. Make sure there is enough light to see what you are working on. It is important to clean up grease, oil, or any other slippery substances before maintenance.
Protective gear is made with a specific reason in mind; to keep you safe. You should always wear appropriate safety gear or clothing that the job requires. Safety glass, face shields, rubber aprons, rubber gloves, and safety shoes are all part of working safely on bucket trucks. Be cautious around moving parts and keep loose clothing and hair away from them. If your hair is long, tie it up. You definitely do not want to be involved in a freak accident.
When working on the truck, always start the engine from the driver’s seat. Trying anything else is extremely dangerous and should never be done. Plus, if it’s a manual, you’re just going to have a dang hard time. Make sure there is no pressure in the hydraulic system when you go to disconnect components, as serious injury can occur. For example, if you get hasty and disconnect the hydraulic system before you check the pressure level, you could have a major eruption of hydraulic fluid. It can get in your eyes, in your hair, or on your skin. None of that is good. Be sure to also properly ventilate your work area if you are planning to run the engine.
Test the insulated boom and the liner regularly. This is from ANSI’s most current revision of safety practices. This must be done when hose, oil or other components pass through the insulated portions of the boom.
Make sure to use the proper support systems when working underneath bucket trucks. If you don’t, pinching or crushing injuries or even death may occur. Make sure the jacks or hoist are in good condition before using them and never use concrete blocks. If a bucket truck or other utility truck happens to fall on you, it will probably be the last time anything falls on you.
Disconnect the battery before working on electrical components of the truck. As obvious as it seems, this is one of the most over looked safety precautions. It’s also the quickest way to get you electrocuted. Removing the ground cables first is the best option. Avoid battery hazards at all costs. Batteries contain very damaging acid and must be treated carefully. Never charge or jump a battery if it is frozen. When working with pressurized fluids it’s best to install cylinder rod support struts. Wear your gloves. Remove caps slowly and gradually. Always clean up spills as soon as possible. If it a spill of significant size, pour some sand over it to soak it up.
Cooling systems are important to be careful around as they can get to very hot temperatures. Make sure after running the vehicle, you wait until it has cooled off before you remove the radiator cap. Smoking while near an engine is never a good idea. Use common sense. Fuel and fumes can catch fire sending the entire work site up in flames.
Tires are also an important aspect of the bucket truck that needs to be constantly and properly maintained. Specific tools are required to change tires and must be used correctly. Tire repair manuals are the best source to follow step by step. Never operate bucket trucks with defects in the tires or wheels. Be sure to keep tire pressure at the right level and make sure to check pressure often. Maintenance and repair of tires should be done only by experienced workers. Tires on bucket trucks are significantly larger than your average truck tires and, in addition, need commercial tools to get the job done.