Operators of any type of heavy-duty commercial equipment should know how to use all safety equipment with which each unit is equipped as well as the importance of working according to clearly outlined safety precautions. Many vehicles that are used for lifting, drilling and digging such as cranes and boom trucks have outriggers, which are collapsible legs that help balance a vehicle while it is working and is a critical part of the safe use of these commercial trucks. Incorrect usage of the boom truck outriggers can spell disaster if an operator either does not set correctly use these supports or uses them in an incorrect manner.
Stowed under the vehicle or otherwise out of the way when not in use, outriggers can be either manually or remotely extended from the vehicle and then lowered in order to create four extra contacts with the ground. These extensions will not bend or allow the truck to tilt or tip over from either the load that is being lifted or the pressure of drilling or digging; these added legs coming out from the truck can help it remain steady for the job that is being done and keep it from flipping over. One of the most important things that all operators must learn and know about the use of outriggers is that they must be used correctly and that it is achieved through the correct positioning of the extension arm. All four legs must be extended in order to ensure that the vehicle remains balanced during the entire operation.
New vs. Used Outriggers
The older that the equipment is, the greater the chances are that it has the older style of outriggers; the more dated versions of these truck legs are either collapsed or extendable with no adjustments for partial extensions. This type of arrangement may well at those work sites where the ground is flat and there is plenty of room to extend all four legs; however, in less convenient situations there can be problems with this older type of outriggers. Resorting to only partially extending the older type of supports that can only lock in a fully extended position is a safety hazard and should be avoided.
Vehicles with the newer style outriggers can be more conveniently positioned and set up. With these improved supports, it is possible to configure the four legs at different extension positions while still providing full support as is required. Because there are multiple locking positions, it is possible to have the leg down while only partially extended, or even not extended at all. This enables operators to more safely set up these supports regardless of the irregularities of the space or terrain. The weight of the load that the vehicle is carrying will still have to be considered and whether or not it is possible to get outriggers extended enough to do the best possible job; with greater versatility for adjusting the supports, it is easier to safely manage these extensions with most vehicles.
The purpose behind outriggers in the first place is to create a safer working environment for equipment operators and anyone else in the area by preventing equipment problems or accidents from occurring. Keeping this in mind, operators should be committed to not only always using the vehicle’s outriggers but always using them within a designated safety margin. Setting up outriggers so that they can be used beyond the approved configuration increases the risk of a costly accident and should be avoided at all times. Safety – and the correct use of all equipment – is always the most important consideration. Hopefully this article has provided helpful information about the important ways to avoid the breakdown of outriggers!