Operating knuckleboom trucks requires proper training due to their complex capabilities. Although the equipment has a wide variety of uses, its complexity also means that there are many things that could go wrong during operation. A small mistake at the controls could lead to damage, either to the vehicle itself, its load, nearby structures, or to workers. To prevent this from happening, all those who run this machinery must undergo the proper training before operating it in order to learn all of the necessary skills and most importantly, to learn all of the safety operation guidelines.
Due to the variety of uses of knuckleboom trucks, it is important that operators know how to use this equipment for every possible use. These vehicles were initially designed to automate the loading and unloading of the truck bed; its versatility has led to a wider range of applications.
The knuckleboom was primarily created as a loader; with the addition of booms with a higher reach and weight capacity; this equipment can be operated in a manner that is similar to a crane. It can also be outfitted with various extensions. For example, a bucket extension can be attached for loading loose material or a grapple can be added for handling circular objects such as logs.
Due to the high mobility of this vehicle, a number of risks are associated with its operation.
- Tipping – The vehicle is prone to tipping if not properly handled. During loading or unloading, the weight of the load may be unevenly distributed. There is a high probability that the equipment could tip over if it is not positioned property, if outriggers are positioned on soft ground, when lifting a load beyond its capacity, or with the incorrect positioning of the boom.
- Breaking – Breaking is another serious risk associated with this equipment. The boom could break if allowed to carry an overweight load; it could also break if the operator miscalculates the angle and extension of the boom against the weight of the load. Basically, the stress on the boom increases as its angle becomes parallel to the ground, even more so when it is in an extended position.
- Hitting Other Objects – Another problem associated with knuckleboom trucks is its large boom that may hit nearby structures, such as tree branches, surrounding buildings, and even live wires. This could result in costly damage to the nearby structures and the load being lifted as well as the equipment itself.
Training and Certification
Proper training and certification is a crucial step in becoming a responsible and skilled operator. In order to become a certified operator, certain basic requirements must be met to become eligible.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Meet all medical requirements.
- Comply with substance abuse policy.
- Pass written and practical examinations.
- Comply with code of ethics.
There are many schools that provide training to become a certified knuckleboom operator. When selecting a school, choose one that is OSHA accredited to ensure a quality and standardized training program.
Knuckleboom trucks are highly versatile pieces of equipment. It is important to understand that in order to use them to their greatest potential without any risks, any operator must be well-trained and certified. Hopefully the information provided here about the various uses of this vehicle, the operational risks involved, and the importance of proper training and certification will have clarified the necessity for using trained operators only with this important truck!