Runnion Equipment Company, located in Lyons IL., published an excellent article on their site regarding the need to always use outrigger pads when operating boom trucks.
The article published under the title, Outrigger pads – you better have then when you need them! was originally published in 2010 and is still highly relevant today.
Below are article highlights DICA recommends as good reminders to operators of outrigger enabled equipment.
Links have been added within the content for those who would like additional information.
- Crane mats, floats, outrigger pads – call them what you will, but if you own a boom-truck, you should have a set or two with your crane at all times. It’s almost like carrying a portable foundation.
- We have seen “home made” outrigger pads made out of pressure treated pine and we suggest that this is a very bad idea. While it may work in a muddy field with a small load, that pine is a soft wood that will compress or shatter when it comes into contact with something solid such as clay, tree roots, boulders, broken concrete or bedrock – while the weight of the outrigger is pushing from above.
- Undeniably, many soils on a job site are questionable, so pro-active safety management requires the use of supplemental crane mats much of the time if not all the time. Keep in mind as well that supplemental floats and crane mats can also provide protection to asphalt and decorative stone or concrete surfaces which are easily damaged by the steel outrigger pads.
- Don’t forget too, that an asphalt or paved surface like a parking lot is no guarantee that the subsurface will support the weight of the crane on the outriggers – a problem that many boom-truck owners discover as first time operators – and those hard concrete surfaces that seem indestructible may be vaulted or may be poured over a hollow drain pipe.
- NOTE THAT CRANE MATS AND FLOATS DO NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF GOOD SENSE!
- A good operator knows that your boom truck has to be on solid level footing – always. Floats and crane mats do not change that fact and when they are in use, they must be level. Remember that if your boom truck is not set up level to within 1% (or as per manufacturer instructions) – your load chart does not apply! Be aware that in a 20-foot span, 1% is only two inches off-level! Anything past this point and your crane can lose 15 – 20% or more of the rated capacity. If your outrigger pad is set down on an unleveled float, it may slide off under load and set off a catastrophic chain of events with disastrous results.