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What is a Knuckle Boom Lift Used For?

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Knuckle boom lifts are commonly used for electrical and piping repairs, exterior cleaning jobs, and maintenance projects.

  • A knuckle boom lift is not a crane.
  • The most common type of knuckle boom lift is called an atrium lift.
  • Boom lift operators must successfully complete an OSHA-compliant training course on how to safely operate the lift.

What is a Knuckle Boom Lift Used For?

Knuckle boom lifts are commonly used by businesses in the oil, forestry, and construction industries. Common uses of this boom lift include electrical and piping repairs, exterior cleaning jobs, and maintenance projects.

A knuckle boom lift is often used in tight workspaces. This is due to the fact that the lift gives workers the ability to lift themselves or various items up, over, and around with unprecedented precision. Once in the air, a knuckle boom crane can extend and bend. 

In this article we will be discussing all the different jobs that knuckle booms are used for and the types of knuckle booms that are better suited for certain tasks and projects.

What is a Knuckle Boom Lift?

Before we dive in, you must first understand what a knuckle boom is. A knuckle boom, also known as an articulating boom, has a lift arm with multiple sections separated by joints. The arm can move the work platform over and around obstacles. 

Boom lifts, in general, have a hydraulic arm connected to a bucket or platform stemming from a grounded base. Boom lifts are known for being able to reach both vertically and horizontally. There are two types of boom lifts: telescopic booms and knuckle booms.

Articulating Boom vs Telescopic Boom

Platforms that need to reach both up and over obstacles should use knuckle booms, also known as articulating booms. This implies that you can retain a solid work platform while navigating around objects like fixtures, walls, and machines.

Although a telescopic boom may move in some directions, it cannot reach up over or around barriers. Reaching straight up or ahead into awkward or small locations is the purpose of a telescoping boom.

OSHA Standards

The American National Guidelines Institute's (ANSI) standards are specifically mentioned by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when it comes to creating, maintaining, and using knuckle boom lifts (ANSI). It's vital to remember that OSHA classifies all lifts as aerial lifts, with the exception of scissor lifts, which it classifies as scaffolding.

OSHA does have stringent requirements when it comes to knuckle boom lift training. Learn the OSHA Standards our Knuckle Boom Course meets.

ANSI Standards

OSHA frequently refers to lifts of any sort using the word "aerial lifts," although ANSI uses the term "mobile elevated work platforms," or MEWPs.According to ANSI requirements, a Safe Use Plan must to be created for each individual MEWP or lift. In order to identify hazards, assess risk, develop control measures, and share findings with the workforce, this plan should include a workplace assessment. Learn the requirments for this plan and qualifications of training.

Is a Knuckle Boom Lift a Crane?

A knuckle boom lift is not a crane. Boom lifts and cranes are made for different tasks and they do not have the same capabilities. A boom lift does not have the same lifting strength as a crane, and a crane is not suitable for lifting workers. Use both pieces of equipment for what they were designed for to ensure everyone’s safety.

Knuckle Boom Cranes

It is very common for a knuckle boom lift to be confused with a knuckle boom crane. There are many names for a knuckle boom crane such as articulating boom truck crane and knuckle boom truck. While the names are very similar, as stated in the last section, boom lifts and cranes are very different in the tasks they perform and their capabilities. 

Knuckle boom cranes have a boom that can fold up when it's stored. They are very versatile cranes that are especially effective on sites where there are overhead obstructions. Many of these have just a hook on the end of the boom rather than a hoist line and winch.

Atrium Lift

There are many different types of knuckle boom lifts, each one having unique capabilities that make them better for certain tasks or projects. The most common type of knuckle boom lift is called an atrium lift. It is also the most commonly used boom lift in the U.S.  

Atrium lifts, also called spider lifts, are the most common type of knuckle boom lifts. This is a self-propelled, boom-type, mobile elevating work platform which is designed to be lightweight and compact. It uses four stabilizer legs to maintain stability. 

Atrium lifts are especially ideal when the work space is limited or can only be reached at great heights. These lifts are a much safer and efficient alternative to traditional scaffolding. They are mainly used in construction work, roof painting, and tree trimming. These lifts can go as far as 138 feet in working height.

Common Hazards

The majority of accidents and fatalities with knuckle boom lifts are brought on by the same typical dangers. We'll talk about five of the most typical risks connected to knuckle boom lifts in this post.

Learn More Knuckle Boom Hazards on our knuckle boom training page.

Hard Hat Training

There are lots of ways to accomplish safety training that are convenient. 

But in the end, safety training should be a blessing, not a burden. That’s why we offer a selection of training methods so that you can choose the most convenient one for your company. 

OSHA-Compliant Courses

All of our courses adhere to OSHA regulations and provide all pertinent safety information on the training topic at hand. To give businesses the greatest and most important information, our learning development and quality assurance teams spend hours conducting research. Our MEWP Safety Training and Boom Lift Safety Training courses are available for you today!

"Stop training the hard way. Do it the Hard Hat Training way instead!"
— Arthur Lee, CEO