Equipment and Solutions


How to operate a boom lift and boom truck

A boom lift is a versatile machine when completing many types of construction and maintenance projects. Boom lifts come in many different makes and models, so familiarizing yourself with your equipment is critical to operating it successfully. Besides an operator having access to the manufacturer’s manual, they should also be certified by OSHA and have had some training in how to use the lift before putting it to work.


Before starting a boom lift, an operator should go through a series of maintenance checkpoints to make sure the machine is in good working order, including tire and brake inspection, an engine check and an examination of the surrounding area for potential hazards. For a detailed checklist, please reference our list of maintenance recommendations for equipment safety and performance.

In addition to studying the project details, the operator should secure all necessary tools and materials before starting the machine. Here are some general guidelines on how to operate a boom truck:

  1. Turn the key and pull out the red kill switch while at ground level.
  2. Engage the outrigger, put wheel chocks in place and lock the parking brake.
  3. Fit yourself in the harness when boarding the work platform. Ensure the harness fits correctly and that all buckles, fasteners and straps are in good working order.
  4. Once inside the bucket, latch the gate and pull out the red kill switch on the console.
  5. Use the joystick on the console to control the movement of the boom and placement of the bucket. Pushing forward on the joystick elevates the bucket. Lateral directions will rotate the bucket left or right. Some lifts also have a tilt function.
  6. On a telescopic boom lift, a separate setting near the ignition will extend the length of the boom.
  7. When elevated, stay alert for any impending obstructions like trees, building extensions or power lines.
  8. On many lifts, an additional setting by the ignition lowers the bucket. If you have a telescopic model, push the extension joystick forward to collapse the boom back into the shaft, narrowing the overall length. Once the telescope collapses, pull back on the elevation joystick to lower the boom.
  9. Unlock the parking brake and disengage the outrigger.
  10. Turn off the key when finished.

Lifts differ between models and brands, but these functions provide a general guideline to their operation. For specific instructions on how to operate a boom lift, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s operating manual. 


Should you have any questions on the safe boom lift operation, contact RAKA for all the answers. With over 50 years of experience in aerial lift rentals, we’re here to provide you with guidance on how to use your aerial lift safely and which model is best for your needs.