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What Is a Boom Lift?

November 23, 2022

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What Is a Boom Lift?

A boom lift is a machine designed to elevate workers, tools and materials to access areas that are otherwise unreachable. Boom lifts are just one type of aerial work platform – a category that also includes scissor lifts, bucket trucks and telehandlers.

A boom lift consists of:

A base, either towable or self-propelling, that supports the rest of the machine from the ground. The base may be equipped with outriggers to provide extra stability on uneven terrain.

  • A platform or bucket, designed to carry personnel and tools safely.
  • A boom, or extending arm, powered by a hydraulic system that allows for precise positioning of the bucket. The boom is connected to the base with a rotating turntable.

Types of Boom Lifts

There are two main types of boom lifts: telescopic and articulating.

Telescopic Boom Lifts

Telescopic boom lifts, also called straight booms, are just that: boom lifts with a straight arm. They are designed for maximum height and stability, and are ideal for outdoor jobs in open spaces like installing windows and painting exterior walls. With a maximum height of up to 185 feet, telescopic boom lifts provide the maximum height and carrying capacity possible from a boom lift.

Articulating Boom Lifts

While telescoping boom lifts offer superior height, articulating boom lifts offer greater flexibility — literally. An articulating boom lift features one or more bendable sections or “knuckles” in the boom, allowing for more maneuverability and a smaller overall footprint. Although they don’t reach quite as high as telescoping boom lifts, articulating boom lifts are perfect for indoor applications, confined spaces and jobs with obstacles such as tree limbs.

When Should I Choose a Boom Lift?

Boom lifts are designed to reach up and out from the base, not just straight up into the air. You’ll need a boom lift if you cannot place the base of the lift directly below the work area. Also, since boom lifts operate at heights that exceed those of scissor lifts and bucket trucks, a boom lift is often the only option for certain jobs.

Boom Lift Safety

The most important part of using a boom lift is safety. Here are a few tips to keep your jobsite safe while using a boom lift:

Select the right boom lift: Does your lift reach the height you need comfortably?

  • Check your boom lift before operating: Make sure your machine has been properly inspected prior to use — including safety devices such as anti-crush systems — and is current on all regular maintenance. T3 can help you stay up-to-date on all your maintenance tasks.
  • Operator training: Boom lift operators must complete an OSHA-compliant aerial lift certification course before operating a boom lift. They should also be familiar with the specific machine they are operating and have read the operator’s manual prior to use. T3 can help you protect your jobsite by limiting machine access to certified personnel.  
  • Operator safety: Boom lift operators should always wear appropriate PPE, such as hard hats, harnesses or body belts, eye and hand protection and high visibility clothing. They should also know how on-board safety systems operate.
  • Obey load requirements: Ensure that the total weight of operators, tools and materials does not exceed the maximum safety rating for the boom lift you are operating. When in doubt, always err on the side of carrying less.
  • Avoid hazards: Avoid operating a boom lift near power lines and overhead cables whenever possible, and exercise caution when maneuvering the work platform into position. Do not operate boom lifts outdoors in windy conditions.

EquipmentShare is ready with the right lift for your job. Get started with a tech-powered rental today.

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About EquipmentShare

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Columbia, Mo., EquipmentShare is a nationwide construction technology and equipment solutions provider dedicated to transforming the construction industry through innovative tools, platforms and data-driven insights. By empowering contractors, builders and equipment owners with its proprietary technology, T3, EquipmentShare aims to drive productivity, efficiency and collaboration across the construction sector. With a comprehensive suite of solutions that includes a fleet management platform, telematics devices and a best-in-class equipment rental marketplace, EquipmentShare continues to lead the industry in building the future of construction.