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Special Focus Archive


Understanding Wind Speed Limitations on Utility Equipment

| Jim Olson |
The question about what’s permitted for operating aerial devices and digger derricks in high winds is one that comes up frequently with users. Utility crews often must deal with working in wind. Trouble trucks responding during storm recovery, transmission operations to place visibility balls on lines and working above rooflines in urban locations are just […]
Terex Pro Controls

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits for 2024?

| Sean M. Lyden |
The industry’s truck and van equipment manufacturers are developing new products that equip your crews to get more work done with less strain and greater safety. They’re incorporating more lightweight materials in their product designs so that you can reduce fuel costs, increase battery range or boost payload capacity. And they’re offering more electrified options […]
Matting Feature article

Matted Surfaces: Safety Considerations and Controls

It’s a busy time in our industry. We have challenges associated with normal operations and maintenance of the grid. We’re also faced with new and increasing work involving distributed generation, vehicle charging infrastructure and major transmission projects. Both existing and emerging work require access to the respective work areas, and with this comes the associated […]

Using Power Tools in the Bucket

| Ryan Berg and Jim Olson |
Lineworkers rely on a variety of tools when working from the bucket of an aerial device. Safe work practices require that these tools not create additional exposure to electrocution. Hand tools – such as bolt cutters, knives, pliers and wire strippers – are often made of metal. So, when employees are working in aerial devices, […]
Manitex - TC850

What’s New in Aerial Lift Equipment in 2023?

| Sean M. Lyden |
When repairing power lines, inspecting high and hard-to-reach areas, or lifting transformers and other heavy equipment, the objective is clear: How can line crews do their jobs safer and faster? That goal has driven the development of several new products and upgrades released by top aerial platform and crane manufacturers in the past few months. […]

What’s New in Utility Construction Equipment in 2023?

| Sean M. Lyden |
When digging trenches, lifting materials or drilling in tight spaces, how can utility crews get more work done in less time at a lower operational cost and with a smaller carbon footprint? Those are the primary factors heavy-equipment manufacturers consider as they design and develop new utility construction equipment. What new products have emerged this […]

Accelerated Development: What’s New in All-Electric Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

As you navigate the opportunities and challenges brought about by fleet electrification, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest product news. This roundup delves into the latest news in the heavier all-electric truck segment from industry leaders Mack Trucks, Isuzu, Hino, Nikola and Tesla. Consider the impact these electric vehicles might have on your […]

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits for 2023?

| Sean M. Lyden |
As you evaluate your truck and van specs, where do you see the best opportunities for improvement? Perhaps you could take weight out of the vehicle to reduce fuel costs or increase legal payload. Or upgrade your equipment to be more efficient and ergonomic, improving crew productivity and safety. Or electrify your onboard equipment to […]

Looking at Fleet Management Through a Legal Lens

| Sean M. Lyden |
Aggressive driver behaviors. Improper use of equipment. Distracted driving. These are just a few issues that increase a utility fleet’s risk of preventable accidents that can lead to multimillion-dollar payouts and ignite a public relations firestorm. So, what can you do as a fleet manager to help protect drivers, the public and your company’s reputation? […]

5 Fleet Technology Trends to Watch for 2023

| Sean M. Lyden |
Electrification is the most significant fleet technology trend right now. Most major automakers and heavy-equipment manufacturers have made substantial investments to shift their entire product portfolios from internal combustion engines to electric within the next 10 to 15 years. But what are some emerging technology trends that aren’t making headlines but could significantly impact your […]

Latest Developments in All-Electric Utility Construction Machines

| Sean M. Lyden |
There’s a lot of media coverage around the rollout of new electric vehicle models. But there’s one EV category not grabbing headlines – yet it’s still critical to achieving a utility fleet’s sustainability goals: utility construction equipment. All-electric machines eliminate emissions and allow crews to operate in noise-sensitive areas and outside of standard work hours. […]

ANSI A92.2: 2022 Changes and Training Requirements

| Phil Doud |
Here’s what owners and operators should know about upcoming updates to the standard. Updates are coming to the ANSI A92.2 standard, titled “American National Standard for Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial Devices.” Your most common piece of powered equipment soon will have new or revised requirements for design, manufacturing, testing, training and operation. These new […]

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits in 2022?

| Sean M. Lyden |
Despite a lingering pandemic and a supply chain crisis, truck and van upfitters continue to bring new products to market that will help utility fleets cut costs, improve crew safety and productivity, and reduce carbon emissions. So, what are some notable new products and design enhancements to keep your eye on in 2022? Here are […]

What Utility Fleets Can Do to Improve Driver Safety Performance

| Sean M. Lyden |
How much does a vehicle collision cost your company in property damage, health care expenses, lost worker days, legal fees, and other direct and indirect costs? According to the latest report by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, available at, U.S. employers across various industries paid: $26,081 per crash in property damage. $78,418 […]

What’s New in Lifting Equipment for Utility Fleets in 2021

| Sean M. Lyden |
Lifting height, capacity, stability and range – these are all critical factors utility fleet professionals consider when spec’ing aerial platforms, cranes and other heavy-lifting equipment. They’re also looking for enhancements to machine safety, longevity and efficiency. So, what new products in the lifting equipment space have emerged in the past year to help fleet managers […]

What’s New in Digging Machines for Utility Fleets

| Sean M. Lyden |
Whether the job is digging trenches, drilling holes or digging in confined areas, you’re looking for machines and tools that can help your customers – the business units your department serves at your company – increase crew productivity at lower operating costs. Those are also the goals that many heavy-equipment manufacturers have in mind as […]

Con Edison Orders All-Electric Class 8 Bucket Truck for Pilot Program

| Sean M. Lyden |
In late March, Con Edison announced its partnership with electric truck OEM Lion Electric and Posi-Plus, an aerial device equipment manufacturer, to develop the first all-electric bucket truck in North America. “Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are more challenging to electrify than cars, but the purchase of our first all-electric bucket truck shows the market is […]

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits for 2021

| Sean M. Lyden |
The past year with the pandemic has been anything but normal with sporadic nationwide lockdowns, supply chain challenges and vehicle production delays. But there’s one thing we can still count on: Truck and van body manufacturers and upfitters are continuing to bring new products to market that equip your crews to get more work done […]

Using Aerials and Digger Derricks in Slick Conditions

| Craig Ries |
As we enter the full grip of winter, setting up aerial devices and digger derricks in snowy and icy conditions brings additional concerns for equipment operators. Normal traction is greatly reduced, which could put a truck in an unstable position. Variable site locations – on gravel or grass, sloped or level – and the urgency […]

3 Factors to Consider When Retrofitting LED Lights on Work Trucks

| Sean M. Lyden |
It makes sense that most truck OEMs, body manufacturers and upfitters have made the switch from conventional incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting for their latest models. After all, LEDs last exponentially longer, shine brighter, burn cooler and draw less power. And although LEDs are more expensive upfront, the cost drops significantly over the […]