Falling Out of the Sky
Submitted July, 2002
Accidents occur every year as workers use aerial devices to gain access to hard to reach locations. Telephone, electric and tree service companies often use articulated boom aerial devices, commonly referred to "bucket trucks", to install, service, and maintain telephone lines and electrical conductors. Defectively designed or improperly used "bucket trucks" can result in workers literally "falling out of the sky", causing serious or fatal injuries.
According to ANSI, the design of articulated boom aerial devices is covered in ANSI A92.2 "Vehicle-mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial Devices". Self-propelled and manually propelled elevated work platforms are covered in ANSI A92.6 and A92.3, respectfully.
Two potential types of accidents involving "bucket trucks" which would result in operators "falling out of the sky" are an overturn and boom failure.
Outriggers are often used in the design of "bucket trucks" to increase stability. Overturn accidents may be the result of using the vehicle on an excessively sloped surface, improper use of outriggers, overloading of boom/bucket or defective design of vehicle which includes the outriggers. Accident investigation of the circumstances, area of overturn and manufacturers specifications should be evaluated to determine the cause of the overturn.s
"Bucket trucks" may be designed to use either hydraulic systems or electrical systems to raise and lower the booms. ANSI A92.2 requires that either design have safety features that would prevent movement of the boom or bucket in the event of a hydraulic line failure or a loss of power. Boom failure can be the result of a defectively designed safety system or an improperly maintained hydraulic or electrical system.
Properly designed and operated articulated boom aerial devices, "bucket trucks", can reduce the number of accidents where operators literally "fall out of the sky".
About the Author: Bryan R. Durig is a consulting engineer with Summit Engineering, an association of consulting engineers providing services in the areas of accident analysis, property loss claims consultation, structural analysis, fire investigations, machine damage assessment, product liability and injury to personnel.
Copyright © 2002 Bryan R. Durig.All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you believe you may lawfully use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article under the Fair Use exception to copyright law, except as otherwise authorized by the author of the article, you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.