What is a Boom Lift and How do You Operate One?

17 Mar.,2023


The company has a group of cooperation teams engaged in the Electric Articulating Boom Lift industry for many years, with dedication, innovation spirit and service awareness, and has established a sound quality control and management system to ensure product quality.

How Much Weight Can a Boom Lift Handle?

Most boom lifts have a platform capacity of around 500 pounds, but you can find boom lifts with a capacity of up to 1000 pounds.

Articulated and telescopic boom lifts have different weight capacities, but it also varies by manufacturer and model. It's critical to pay attention to the maximum capacity and never exceed it.

Telescopic boom lifts can typically handle a larger load than articulated lifts. Both straight lifts and articulated lifts can have the upper end of boom lifts' weight capacity, but there are more straight lifts with 1000-pound capacity than articulated lifts.

What's the Tallest Boom Lift in the World?

When it comes to boom lift sizes, weight capacity is only part of the picture.

Height and range (the horizontal reach) are also important. Most commercial models of straight boom lifts are between 40 feet and 135 feet tall. Articulated boom lifts are a little shorter, between 30 feet and 80 feet tall. Generally speaking, horizontal reach increases with height, but the ratios vary by model.   

The tallest boom lift in the world is made by Bronto for servicing and repairing wind turbines, introduced in 2017. The Bronto Skylift S295 HLA has a vertical lift of 295 feet and an up and over capability of 190 vertical feet and 105 horizontal feet. Previous record-breakers from other manufacturers range from 185 feet to 210 feet.

Bronto also makes North America's biggest boom lift for firefighting. The Bronto Skylift F230 RPX – affectionately called The Beast – has a vertical reach of 230 feet for access to the 20th story of a high rise.

How Do You Operate a Boom Lift?

First of all, you need formal training or certification on how to operate a boom lift safely. If you're using a boom machine for work, a boom lift license is legally required, but even if you're renting a cherry picker for personal use, you want to take boom lift safety training.

Before operating a boom lift, you should inspect all vehicle components, lift components, and your work area for safety. Check fluid levels, safety systems, and other key mechanisms to ensure everything is in working order.

Look for hazards in the work zone, including unstable surfaces, holes, drop-offs, overhead obstructions (like a sloping ceiling or power lines), and ground obstructions like debris. Check weather conditions – boom trucks shouldn't be operated in icy or windy conditions.

When you operate the boom lift, you should engage all safety systems and set up work zone warnings. Engage proper fall protection and use outriggers or wheel chocks for stability. Stay within weight limits and horizontal/vertical reach limits. Pay attention to overhead hazards and stay at least 10 feet away from any power lines and communication cables.

How Do You Get Boom Lift Certified?

When people talk about boom lift certification or earning a boom lift license, they're usually referring to OSHA's compliance requirements.

OSHA requires operator safety training for anyone operating a boom lift on the job. There's a classroom portion as well as hands-on instruction and an in-person evaluation of an operator's skills.

Operators need to complete boom lift certification before they operate a boom lift on the job, and OSHA says employers should retrain operators when a different type of aerial lift is introduced, if they observe improper operation of the lift, after new workplace hazards involving the lift are discovered, and after a boom lift-related accident.

Periodic refreshers for boom lift training aren't required by the OSHA standard, but they can help workers remain compliant and save you a headache when OSHA inspectors come to visit.

Boom lift training covers many topics and needs to comply with OSHA standards. The classroom portion should include:

  • Information on fall, falling object, and electrical hazards

  • Procedures for preventing and mitigating hazards

  • Recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions

  • Instructions about the correct operation of the lift

  • When and how to perform inspections

One of the easiest ways to ensure thorough and compliant boom lift certification is to purchase online boom lift training from an OSHA-authorized online training provider like us. We'll cover all the classroom topics and ensure that workers understand the material with quizzes and tests.

That way, all you have to worry about is covering the manufacturer's requirements for your specific boom lift model(s) and overseeing the practical operating demonstration.

Enroll today!

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