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Bucket Truck Tip Over: 6 Safety Tips

Bucket Truck Tip Over: 6 Safety Tips

Bucket Truck Tipover: 6 Safety Tips

Operating a bucket truck can be daunting, but it’s terrifying to experience a bucket truck tipover. Did you know that 70% of mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) accidents are due to bucket trucks? Continue reading to learn how to safeguard yourself and your coworkers against bucket truck tipover. Knowing how to keep a bucket truck stable is important to avoid tipovers. This means you need to understand the law of gravity and principles of stability. Knowing how to keep a bucket truck stable is important for workers to avoid tipovers. If you take safety precautions, you have a better chance of returning home safely.

6 Tips To Avoid A Bucket Truck Tipover

  1. Understand the principles of stability. Balance and leverage are important for maintaining stability. For something to stay balanced, the leverage on one side has to equal the leverage on the other side. The further away the boom and bucket are from the truck, the likelihood of a tipover increases unless the truck has sufficient weight to stay balanced.
  2. Always use outriggers. Outriggers provide more stability by “widening the stance” of the machine, so to speak. This helps immobilize the truck to the ground and better distributes the weight of the load. If you have outriggers on your bucket truck, always deploy them.
  3. Avoid windy weather. You should operate bucket trucks on stable ground and in normal weather conditions. Windy conditions are especially dangerous, so avoid raising the lift if wind speeds are over 30 miles per hour. With lower wind speeds, exercise caution since a bucket truck tipover can happen even with winds at 13 mph.
  4. Abstain from uneven terrain. Even with nice weather, wet and uneven soil will destabilize your truck and cause a bucket truck tipover. Never drive near holes or cliffs. Make sure to survey the area beforehand to avert a preventable catastrophe.
  5. Don’t overload the bucket. Many bucket trucks post the carrying capacity on the basket. Going over the load limit will change the balance of the lift, sending you tumbling to the ground. Learn other factors affecting overloading with Hard Hat Training’s Bucket Truck Training.
  6. Keep your tires well-inflated. Having inflated tires can make the difference between an upright bucket truck and an overturned bucket truck. Though a simple concept, you should always check your tires for wear and tear because workers’ lives could depend on it.

How Safe Are Bucket Trucks?

When you operate heavy equipment, you risk injuring yourself. Strains, sprains, broken bones, lacerations, electrocutions, burns, and death from falls are frequent injuries when operating bucket trucks. You are more likely to avoid these injuries if you keep your bucket truck stable and practice safe procedures.

Types of Bucket Truck Outriggers and Aerial Lifts

Common types of outriggers include under-slung jacks, H-style, and A-frame:

  • The under-slung style spreads out horizontally before descending to the ground as a component of the equipment torque box. Compartments are above the jack in the body because the jacks have a lower center of gravity than other jack types.
  • The H-style outrigger is the most popular of the three. The outrigger of the H-style extends horizontally before descending to the ground.
  • Out-and-down jacks, or A-frame jacks, typically extend a few feet from the side of the truck.

Articulate overcenter, articulate non-overcenter, and telescopic articulate are a few types of bucket truck aerial lifts that employees use to work at heights:

  • The articulate over-center lift boom is centered in the middle of the vehicle. The term “articulated” refers to a jointed boom that extends and raises the bucket or platform rather than a single solid piece.
  • An articulate non-overcenter boom is kept at a constant angle while the bucket is raised or lowered. The bucket does not cross the middle of the vehicle. It is most suitable for use in easily accessible places, such as building maintenance and some utility services.
  • Telescopic articulate boom extenders are installed within the exterior piece. This allows the operator to extend the bucket at different degrees and distances. This bucket truck is ideal for forestry and limited construction locations.

OSHA Bucket Truck Wind Restrictions

Wind speeds that exceed 40 mph (64.4 kph), or 30 mph (48.3 kph) if material handling is required are often regarded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as dangerous.

Worker’s Guide for Safe Bucket Truck Navigation

Inspect the condition of the terrain and the slope of the landscape prior to operation. Even if you are doing everything right, ground conditions can upset the bucket truck’s stability. Before operating on a hill, inspect the slope for potholes, areas of soft soil, and other obstructions that could cause the machine to tip over.

Is Fall Protection Required in a Bucket Truck?

Because you operate at heights while in a bucket truck, you need to wear proper fall protection equipment. This includes a full-body harness and appropriate lanyard. Body belts are not sufficient protection in bucket trucks because they can cause more injury to your body if you fall.

Bucket Truck Tipover

Additionally, you need to take the machine’s capacities into account compared to the load you plan to lift. Don’t overload your machine just to get the job done. If you are unsure whether the bucket truck can handle the load, then consider using a different machine.

Maintenance Truck Safety

Through proper inspections, maintenance, and safe operation, you can avoid many of the common hazards associated with operating a bucket truck. Plan to be safe on your worksite. Never take your safety or your machine’s capabilities for granted. Noticing damaged or faulty equipment can prevent an accident before operations begin.

Check that your tires are inflated and installed correctly according to the instructions in the operator’s manual. Make sure they aren’t damaged or missing any hardware, like lug nuts. Because tires can support much of the load, make sure they are properly inflated. If your tires are underinflated or have uneven wear, the chances of your bucket truck tipping over increase.

Occupational Safety

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your machine, if not more so. Your mental, physical, and emotional health can all affect the way that you act during operations. You should evaluate yourself in these categories before operating heavy equipment. If you neglect yourself, you will put yourself and those around you at risk of injury.


Prevention is always better than learning from your mistakes. This is especially true when it comes to bucket trucks and aerial lifts, which can be useful but dangerous. Learn how to plan ahead at Hard Hat Training.