All outrigger-enabled equipment must be set-up on firm, stable ground, and always using outrigger pads can be instrumental in establishing consistently safe set-ups.
According to a North Carolina Department of Labor report, half of all equipment incidents occur because the vehicle or outriggers were improperly set up. (See Table 5 on page 18 and additional details on Failure to Use Outriggers; Soft Ground and Structural Failure on page 19.)
Two recent tip-overs reported in the news, one involving a bucket truck used by a tree trimmer and the other a boom truck used by a window washer, demonstrate the importance of understanding ground bearing strength under equipment outriggers.
In the case of the tree trimmer accident, police on the scene reported that one of the “load-bearing legs” [outriggers] sank into muddy ground near the edge of the curb. A similar situation occurred with the truck-mounted crane lifting the window washers. One of the four “support posts” [outriggers] was placed on soil, while the other three were setup on an asphalt surface.
DICA’s 10 Tips for a Successful Crane Setup apply to cranes and other outrigger-enabled equipment. Many activities, such as utility work, tree trimming, window washing, and lights or sign maintenance, often occur on improved surfaces, such as parking lots or roadways.
DICA recommends using outrigger pads for boom trucks every time outriggers are deployed. In addition, placement is critical to effective load support and distribution. The outrigger float should be placed squarely in the center of an outrigger or crane pad. FiberMax Mega Duty crane pads have standard “foot placement targets” to assist with proper pad/float placement. Outrigger floats placed outside target areas/off center, will result in non-uniform ground bearing pressures.