Insulated Bucket Trucks: What They Do and How They Can Help You

Insulated bucket trucks were created in an effort to help protect workers from electrocution. This applies to linemen who may be working on utility lines such as telephone poles or transformers etc. These jobs have the added danger of not only being located in high places, but also working near extremely high voltage lines. That is why it was necessary to create something that could further protect these workers and reduce the risk of electric shock.

There are three main aspects of a isolated dump truck which can provide protection against electric shock. These are the most important components to maintain and comply with the standards defined by ANSI:

hub liner – This will protect the portion completely inside the liner, like a person standing. Once the electricity touches the liners, it will become ineffective for anything inside the liner.

Upper arm insulating section – This will prevent the flow of electricity from the tip of the pen to just go through the elbow of the pen.

Bottom Boom Insert – This piece will serve as an insulation section between the elbow and the chassis of the truck.

A common misconception is that the rubber on your utility truck tires will provide impact protection. This is false as they were not built to provide electrical insulation. Dirt and salt that accumulate on the tire tread can act as conductors of electricity. Your body is a better conductor of electricity, so you should never touch a bucket truck that is in contact with power lines, even if you are operating with wooden controls. Here are some effects of an electrical current on the body:

freezing current – 5-25ma – can cause involuntary muscle spasm

Knockout Stream – 25-100ma – may lose consciousness and stop breathing

nerve block current – 100-200ma – your heart could stop and you would almost certainly need CPR

frying stream – more than 200 ma – this will literally cook the part of the body with which the current came into contact. Death is almost always instantaneous if the path of the current is through the chest.

It’s a good idea to always keep these factors in mind when working around electricity. In addition, you must consider the humidity of your current environment, as well as atmospheric electricity, such as lightning. You should never be working on a bucket truck, near power lines or not, if there is an electrical storm.

We hope this article has helped you better understand what an insulated bucket truck is and why workers can benefit from it. Keep in mind that you should only operate or use an insulated bucket truck if you have received approved training. It is not intended to be a substitute for OSHA or ANSI standards, so again, make sure you have the proper training and certifications, where applicable, before using.

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