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About Boom Lift

Is a boom lift the right machine for you? Which aerial lift do you need, and how can you operate it safely?

From a hammer to a TIG welder, you need the right tool for the job. When your worksite is above the ground, you need the proper aerial work platform to get the task done right and to keep your workers safe.

If you can’t reach it, then you can’t fix it, build it, or maintain it. For construction, painting, maintenance, rescue, and even camera work, a boom lift may be just the tool you need.

What is a Boom Lift?

A boom lift is a machine designed to carry one or more workers with their equipment up, over, and into their working environment.

Boom lifts are a very versatile category of machine, split into two classes: telescopic boom lifts or articulated boom lifts.

A telescopic boom lift has a single extendable arm that can stretch across great distances. Articulated lifts have segmented arms that can snake around obstacles and into tight places.

Boom lifts have a variety of power sources. You can choose between electricity, diesel, or a gas/propane dual-fuel model. Which fuel is right for you?

If you are working indoors or with subpar ventilation, choose electric. The motor is quiet, with zero emissions and abundant torque. Recharging the batteries, however, takes much longer than refilling a fuel tank.

Diesel is a popular choice, particularly if you have other diesel vehicles on the job site. Diesel lifts with four-wheel drive are perfect for jobs with rough terrain.

Dual fuel motors give you the greatest flexibility. The machine will run on gasoline for outdoor power or propane for indoor cleanliness.

Big Rentz provides a complete range of lift rentals, from a nimble 30-foot cherry picker to an 180-foot straight mast boom lift.

When to Use a Boom Lift

Take a good look around your workplace and take some measurements before choosing an aerial work platform. How much room do you have to maneuver? How high do you need to reach? Are you going straight up or reaching around obstacles? What type of surface is under your wheels? Will you require a towable boom lift?

If you only need to access the ceiling, maybe a scissor lift is right for you. But if you need to go up and over or around, you need the agility of a boom lift. Consider the terrain you’ll cross to get to the workplace. Do you need four-wheel drive for crossing rough terrain or is the path paved the whole way?

Much of the time, bigger is better, but this is not always the case when choosing a lift. Be sure you can get your lift rental in and out of your space without damaging anything. You don’t want to spend time and labor fixing the damage that could have been avoided with a narrower machine.

If you’re driving over tile or another fragile flooring, look closely at the given weight and pick the lightest aerial equipment that will do the job. Remember that fresh concrete may take up to 30 days to cure before it can support a heavy machine.

Will you choose one aerial platform that can do it all? You might save money and time by renting different lifts for different tasks. Having multiple specialized machines on site at once could get it all done faster.

You might think construction is the only use for an aerial lift, but be creative. Consider the camera angles you could achieve for a TV production or a sporting event.

Associated Boom Lift Hazards

No job is done well if it is not done safely, so consider the unique dangers to boom lift operation. Safety begins with proper training. Only educated workers should be operating or supervising aerial equipment.

Before the job starts, the machine and all safety equipment must be inspected. If it’s not right, don’t use it. With rental equipment, you can worry a little less because you know our specialists have checked every detail.

Next, inspect the environment. Be extra careful with rough terrain. Assess the ground quality, overhead hazards, and the surrounding area. Make sure you have room to work. Check the wind and the manufacturer’s limits. Any gusts of wind of over 28 miles per hour may be unsafe.

Position the lift squarely on a firm surface. Use all brakes, chocks, and stabilizing legs before extending the boom.

Know the weight limits and be sure to stay below them. Include all tools and equipment.

Be aware of all electrical sources. Know that an arc can cover a surprisingly large distance. Take note of approaching lightning storms.

More eyes are always good. Position extra workers in multiple areas to stay wary of oncoming vehicles, shifting weather conditions, and other surprises. Let the worker who is up on the lift concentrate on his task.

The most obvious but often overlooked hazard is falling. Don’t reach far over the guard rail. Take the time to move the lift safely instead.

Safety Protocols for Operating a Boom Lift

Want to run a profitable and efficient business? Eliminate workplace injuries. Don’t call them accidents because they aren’t accidental. They’re preventable.

Employers pay almost $1 billion per week in workers’ compensation. That’s only the direct cost, not including lost production, delays in job completion, and damage to your reputation.

How can you decrease injuries when using aerial work platforms?

  • Only allow appropriately trained workers to use aerial lifts.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when maintaining and operating the equipment.
  • Never disable or override any of the mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical safety devices on the machine.
  • Unless permitted by the manufacturer, never move the equipment when the boom lift is extended and manned.
  • Do not let any workers position themselves between beams, joists, or other overhead obstacles and the rails of the basket. Movement of the machine could crush them.
  • Stay at least 10′ from all power lines. Treat every line, wire, and conductor as if it were energized, no matter how safe they appear.
  • Always use a restraining harness or belt attached to the basket to prevent falls.
  • Use wheel chocks and set the brakes at all times, especially when parked on an incline.
  • Extend support legs or outriggers if they are equipped with your lift.
  • Never exceed the weight limit of the machine. Be sure to include the weight of tools and other equipment.
  • Provide plenty of time to do a job so that no one is rushing. Haste leads to mistakes.

In general, patience, planning, and a safety-first attitude will always be good for business in the long term. Analyze the work site from every angle. Get a second opinion. Ask questions. If you think something may be unsafe, take the time to make it right.

Boom lifts are prone to tipping when used improperly. Too much weight at the end of a long lever can lead to disaster. A small amount of force at the end of the arm, a result of anything from extra equipment to a gust of wind, can lead to a tremendous force at the base. Consider the physics of every operation.

Let your boss fault you for your caution, rather than the risks you take.

Boom Lift Training

Think you don’t need training because you’re only renting a lift for a day? Think again. Training is critical and easier to find than you think.

Look up Genie’s Lift Pro Online Operator Training or call them at (888) 325-5172. The course includes online training, followed by a hands-on session at your local Genie dealer.

OSHA offers courses and certifications specific to a wide range of industrial equipment. The training is 100% online and costs as little as $79.

Once a worker is trained, he is a resource for his co-workers. Take the time to certify a few of your most responsible employees, and then use them to improve the rest of your workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I rent a Boom Lift? Go to BigRentz.com. Find the boom lift with the size, power source, and features that fit your needs. Call us with any questions at (888) 325-5172.

For how long can I rent a Boom Lift? Select from an eight-hour to twenty-day rental.

Will a Boom Lift work in emergency situations? Emergency personnel does utilize aerial platforms to reach people who are in dangerous situations.

Can I use power tools on a Boom Lift? Yes. Many lifts have built-in outlets for plugging in equipment. Consider the number of outlets and the space you’ll need when selecting the right lift.

Ready to Get the Job Done?

You wouldn’t twist a nut with pliers. You’d get the proper socket and do the work with precision. Don’t struggle with ladders and scaffolding. Keep your workers safe and do the job right with the proper boom lift.

Big Rentz provides the right equipment and necessary training to make you the best professional you can be. Not sure which lifts are right for your workplace? Call us at (888) 325-5172 and let us walk you through the process.

It’s what we do. We’re here to make you and your team look perfect. You’ll get the job done right and stay safe while doing it.


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