What is a Boom Truck?

boom truckBoom trucks are most often used on construction sites to move heavy items, such as concrete blocks, loads of boards, and other equipment. Any operator driving a boom truck must be certified to do so.

For many years, boom trucks, lifts, and cranes have been used to lift and lower heavy loads and reach otherwise inaccessible heights. Dating back to ancient Greece, lifting mechanisms and crane-like structures have helped people build multi-story buildings and amazing structures. One example is the Colosseum, which still stands today.

A boom lift or truck used in construction offers many advantages. Boom trucks, lifts, and cranes may be used to lift and lower heavy loads. Plus, they can help workers reach otherwise inaccessible heights.

The size of boom trucks varies in terms of boom and lifting capacity. For instance, some boom trucks are available that have a 60-ft. boom and offer a 14-ton capacity. Other boom trucks provide 142-ft. boom and 40-ton capacity.

With boom trucks, there is an inverse relationship between boom and lifting capacity; the further the boom extends, the lower the lifting capacity. Thus, it is important to consider a boom truck’s boom and lifting capacity before you use a truck at a jobsite. All boom truck operators should also receive the necessary training to verify that they can safely use a truck.

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What Is a Boom Truck Used for?

Boom trucks and cranes may be used for similar tasks, such as lifting, hoisting, and elevating workers. Yet, many people wonder how safe it is to combine the two.

Although boom lifts and cranes may seem to be exactly the same, there are many differences between them. If you are uncertain about whether you need a boom truck or crane, you need to learn about the similarities and differences between the two. That way, you can find the right equipment to safely and efficiently perform your work task.

Which Boom Truck Is Right for You?

There are many factors to consider to identify the right boom truck for a jobsite, including:

✓ Height: Determine how far the boom must be able to extend based on the work that must be performed.

✓ Lift Capacity: Identify how much weight the truck must be able to handle.

✓ Load Distance from Truck: Figure out how much distance loads will need to be placed from the truck.

Evaluating a variety of boom trucks can be beneficial, as this allows you to determine which truck is the ideal choice for your worksite. Regardless of which boom truck you select, it is paramount that boom truck operators receive the proper certification, too.

How Are Boom Lifts and Cranes Similar?

Boom lifts and cranes are both used to perform industrial tasks across a variety of areas, including:

– Construction


– Painting

– Electrical powerline work

– Window glazing

– Oil and gas

– Commercial roofing

– UtilitiesMunicipal projects

– Coil tubing

Clearly, there are some similarities between boom lifts and cranes. Beyond the function and design of boom lifts and cranes, however, the similarities end.

What Is a Boom Lift?

Boom lifts are used for lifting workers and their equipment to worksites at heights. They are used to help build and maintain structures, in addition to power line work, window washing, and tree care.

A boom lift may be used at construction sites, maintenance sites, and in both rural and urban areas for reaching power lines. If a height is unsafe for reaching with a ladder, a boom lift may be used as a substitute.

Boom lifts are used for many types of jobs, including any situation that requires safe and stable elevation of workers and materials. Some boom lifts can even extend hundreds of feet into the air.

Also, boom lifts are classified as vehicle-mounted devices used to lift people. The base of the boom lift rests on wheels or stabilizing “feet.” Workers are lifted and lowered while standing on a bucket platform attached to the boom lift’s arm. This is the base mechanism that allows this type of aerial lift to be used in construction and a variety of other industries.

What Is a Boom Crane?

Boom cranes don’t have a bucket platform for holding workers, and they are used exclusively for lifting and moving extremely heavy loads. Unlike a boom lift, boom cranes use a series of chains, cables, pulleys, and concrete blocks to lift a crane arm and counteract its weight.

A boom crane is often used to lift and move building materials and heavy equipment like trucks and forklifts at construction sites. Specialty boom crane models can be used to move trains as well.

In addition, boom cranes are used to lift materials, equipment, and other objects. But unlike boom lifts, boom cranes are never used to move workers.

Can You Use a Boom Lift as a Crane?

Boom lifts and cranes are made for different jobs, and therefore, not designed to perform the same tasks.

A boom lift does not have the same lifting and moving power as a crane, and a crane is unable to accommodate workers. When looking at a boom lift or crane, a boom lift can be overloaded and damaged when used as a crane, potentially causing injuries or fatalities.

OSHA guidelines prohibit the use of boom lifts for cranes, and vice versa. So, when you use boom lifts, cranes, or other industrial equipment, consider the equipment’s purpose. Then, you can use the equipment for its intended purpose.

How to Drive a Boom Truck

A boom truck has multiple controls with separate shifters to manage the speed, height, and direction of the arm of the truck. These controls are located on the base of the equipment. The operator has the ability to control vertical and lateral movement as well as rotational direction of the boom truck. If you want to lean how to drive a boom truck, you need to receive the correct training and become certified. Boom trucks are dangerous equipment that can cause harm to you and others around you while placing the employer at risk for fines from OSHA.

Boom Truck Operator Certification Needs

OSHA has standards in place for safe use of boom lifts and cranes. According to OSHA, workers need to be trained to operate boom lifts and aerial lifts. Boom lift and crane safety training must cover how to avoid myriad hazards, such as:

✓ Falls

 Falling objects

✓ Ejections

✓ Electrocutions

✓ Structural failures

✓ Entanglement

Workers can receive training with an online certification course, which is provided by CertifyMe.net. They also need to pass a hands-on certification test, which is conducted by a certified trainer. You can train an employee to be a trainer with the Train the Trainer course from CertifyMe.

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Consequences of Not Certifying Employees to Drive Boom Trucks

If your business does not comply with OSHA’s boom lift and crane safety standards, it exposes operators to workplace safety risks. Your business could face fines and penalties if OSHA discovers that you are knowingly violating its standards. Furthermore, there is a risk that on-the-job accidents, injuries, or fatalities could occur due to your business’ inability to comply with OSHA requirements.

If you plan to use a boom lift or crane, invest in boom lift training to learn how to use your equipment safely. With this training, you can provide your workers with the insights they need to operate a boom lift or crane without putting themselves or others in danger.

Companies are audited by OSHA and fined for not having boom truck operators certified. A survey conducted by CertifyMe showed that out of 100 participants, 85 had been fined by OSHA and of those, 57 were for more than $100,000. 

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