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 to minimize electrical disruptions mean that utility crews often must make the most of imperfect conditions.
Upon arrival at the site, whenever possible, clear away snow and ice under outriggers and tires so that they are in contact with bare ground. Avoid setting outriggers on drains or manholes.
“All outriggers must be lowered to provide proper support, apply downward pressure on outriggers, and always use outrigger pads on a level surface,” advised Bruce Westergaard of Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association. He also suggested avoiding uneven seating, where the outrigger foot straddles mounds or spans dips, as well as using outrigger pads that are textured on the bottom.
Alternatively, traction aids under tires and outriggers – such as sand, gravel and mats – also are a good option.