How to safely operate a Telescopic Boom Lift

Knowing how to operate and handle a Telescopic boom lift will make a difference in how efficiently, safely and profitably you complete the task.

Aerial lift equipment is used in a wide range of industries on construction sites. Boom lifts, in particular, are an ideal choice for where workers need to be lifted to reach high areas and get the job done.

Telescopic booms have higher horizontal outreach compared to any other type of aerial platform, suits for areas with limited access. Telescopic booms are also designed for productivity and drive speed you need to get around the area. It is said to have an easy to handle controls.

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Here are 16 steps on how to safely operate a telescopic boom lift:

  1. Study the project you are planning.
  2. Secure whatever tools and materials you need to perform the work.

      3.Familiarize the lift you lease or buy. In some instances of work, you must have an operator’s manual located on the equipment. Check and review all the controls, and learn their function in the manual.

  1. Check the condition of the lift. This should be done upon accepting the equipment from a rental company, since you may be responsible for any damage that occurs to the lift while you are using it. The operator must inspect the equipment before using,

Follow this Checklist:

  • Fuel level. If you are working in the basket and the machine runs out of fuel, you may be stranded if no one is around to use the auxiliary controls to lower the machine from the ground control panel.
  • Tire condition. Never operate an aerial lift with flat tires, or tires showing damage which may cause them to fail or overbalance and turn over.
  • Hydraulic hoses should be inspected for damage, leaks, etc. You must repair or replace any hoses that appear to be in danger of failing.
  • A fire extinguisher should be mounted in an easily accessible location.
  • Check the oil and coolant levels in the lift’s engine.
  • Make sure all access panels are secured.
  • Check your work area for unlevel or unstable ground, and look at the swing radius of the machine to make sure it doesn’t hit adjacent structures when the machine is rotated.
  1. Turn the remote key switch to Platform Control. This enables the lift engine to be cranked from the platform and engages the platform control panel for controlling the lift’s operation. Make sure the red kill switch button is pulled out at the ground control panel.
  2. Put on a suitable fall arrest harness. Make sure it fits properly, and check the condition of the harness before use.
  3. Climb into the work basket, latch the gate, and fasten the fall arrest lanyard to the D ring provided on the platform. Check to make sure all control identification on the console is readable.There are several different electrical switches and joysticks that control the lift’s operation, and each should be clearly labeled, including the direction of motion they control. Pull the red kill switch button out to enable the engine start switch and power up the console.
  4. Push the engine start switch. This is usually indicated by a cranking engine symbol. If the engine doesn’t turn over when the switch is pushed, you may have to recheck the ground control console kill switch or the master key to make sure they are in the correct position. Refer to the operator’s manual if you cannot get the machine to crank easily.
  5. Stop and take a moment to thoroughly scan the area above and around you, looking specifically for power lines or other hazards.
  6. Look on the platform floor for a boot like enclosure. This is the control engage the lever and is operated by placing your foot in the boot-like cover and pressing down the switch with the toe of your boot to enable to machine’s controls. The engine should rev up when the switch is functioning properly, and most machines are equipped with an alarm that sounds when it is operated to warn bystanders the machine is moving.
  7. Toggle the boom control joystick to raise the boom. Go slowly to start with, it takes time to get used to the motion of the boom. Make sure you are comfortable operating the machine. Newer lifts have a safety device built into both joysticks that requires you to lift a ring underneath the knob on the joystick to allow the device to engage. This prevents the platform from moving unexpectedly if the control is bumped while you are working.
  1. Swing the platform to familiarize yourself with this motion/function. This is done by toggling the joystick in the direction you want the boom to swing Make sure to watch for obstructions before you swing the boom.  
  2. Familiarize yourself with the rest of the aerial lift’s controls, such as the platform rotate control and the platform tilt control. Practice using each of the lift’s functions in a clear, level area before maneuvering it near a structure you intend to work on with it.
  3. Drive the machine to get the feel of the steering/drive controls, and position the platform. remember to watch for obstacles.
  4. Use the right joystick to engage the drive wheels. Most joysticks have steering buttons on top, so to turn your wheels to the right, toggle the right button, to turn left, toggle the left button. Push forward on the joystick to drive the machine forward, and pull the joystick back to back the machine.
  5. Be familiar with all the controls and functions before approaching a structure or position. Read the warning signs around, and remember to review the operator’s manual.