Skip to Content

How to Operate a Cherry Picker

high reach construction equipment

Understanding Cherry Pickers

What is a Cherry Picker?

A cherry picker, also known as a boom lift, is a versatile piece of high-reach equipment used in various industries, including construction, maintenance, and warehousing. Its primary function is to lift workers to high areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. The cherry picker gets its name from its original use in orchards, where it was used to pick fruit from tall trees, especially cherries. Today, cherry pickers are integral to many operations in Southern California, where they facilitate tasks such as building construction, window cleaning, and tree trimming.

Cherry pickers are valued for their flexibility and ease of use. They can reach heights that ladders and scaffolding can't, and they provide a stable platform from which workers can perform their tasks. This equipment is designed with safety in mind, featuring guardrails and harness points to protect workers from falls. However, like any piece of machinery, they require proper operation and maintenance to ensure safety and efficiency.

Different Types of Cherry Pickers

There are several types of cherry pickers, each designed for specific tasks and environments. Telescopic cherry pickers, for instance, have a straight, extendable arm that can reach great heights, making them ideal for construction and industrial applications. Articulating cherry pickers, on the other hand, have hinged boom sections that allow the operator to navigate around obstacles and reach confined spaces. Truck-mounted cherry pickers are highly mobile and are often used for tasks such as tree trimming or electrical line maintenance.

Spider cherry pickers are compact and lightweight, making them perfect for indoor use or in areas with limited access. Lastly, trailer-mounted cherry pickers can be towed behind a vehicle, offering excellent mobility for contractors who need to move between different job sites. The type of cherry picker you choose will depend on your specific needs, the nature of the job, and the environment in which you'll be working.

Key Components of a Cherry Picker

A cherry picker consists of several key components that work together to provide safe and efficient operation. The base, or chassis, houses the engine and provides stability for the machine. The boom, which can be either telescopic or articulated, is the arm that extends to lift the platform to the desired height. The platform, also known as the basket, is where the operator stands and is equipped with controls to operate the boom.

Other essential components include the outriggers, which provide additional stability when the cherry picker is in use, and the controls, which allow the operator to maneuver the machine and adjust the height and angle of the boom. Understanding these components and how they work together is crucial for anyone operating a cherry picker.

Safety Precautions Before Operating a Cherry Picker

Necessary Safety Equipment

Safety is paramount when operating a cherry picker. Before starting the machine, the operator should ensure they are wearing the necessary safety equipment. This includes a hard hat to protect against falling objects, safety glasses to shield the eyes, and steel-toe boots to protect the feet. Additionally, a safety harness should be worn at all times when in the basket, as it can prevent falls if the platform becomes unstable.

It's also important to have a first aid kit readily available in case of an emergency. The kit should include items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and a CPR mask. Remember, safety should never be compromised when operating heavy machinery like a cherry picker, especially in a bustling city like Los Angeles, where construction and maintenance work is commonplace.

Pre-Operation Safety Checks

Before operating a cherry picker, it's crucial to perform a series of pre-operation safety checks. These checks ensure that the machine is in good working order and safe to use. Start by inspecting the cherry picker for any visible damage or wear and tear. Check the tires for proper inflation and the hydraulic system for leaks. Ensure that all controls are functioning correctly and that the safety devices, such as the brakes and outriggers, are working as they should.

It's also important to survey the work area for potential hazards. Look for uneven ground, overhead obstacles like power lines, and nearby pedestrians or vehicles. By taking the time to perform these checks, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safe working environment.

Understanding Safety Protocols

Understanding and following safety protocols is essential when operating a cherry picker. These protocols include not exceeding the machine's weight limit, always wearing a safety harness when in the basket, and never using the cherry picker in adverse weather conditions. It's also important to lower the platform when the machine is not in use and to keep the work area clear of bystanders.

Operators should also be trained in emergency procedures, such as how to lower the platform manually in case of a power failure. Remember, safety protocols are not just guidelines; they are rules that must be followed to ensure the safety of the operator and those around them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Operating a Cherry Picker

Starting the Cherry Picker

Operating a cherry picker begins with starting the machine. First, ensure that the parking brake is engaged and that the machine is on a level surface. Next, turn the key to the "on" position and allow the engine to warm up. Once the engine is running smoothly, disengage the parking brake and use the controls to test the boom and platform movements. Remember, it's crucial to perform these steps every time you start a cherry picker to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Once the machine is started, the operator can enter the basket. It's important to always maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand) when climbing into the basket to prevent falls. Once in the basket, the operator should secure their safety harness to the designated anchor point before starting the lift operation.

Maneuvering the Cherry Picker

Maneuvering a cherry picker requires skill and precision. The operator uses the controls in the basket to move the machine and adjust the boom. To move the cherry picker, use the drive control. Pushing the control forward will move the machine forward, while pulling it back will move it backward. To steer, simply turn the control in the desired direction.

To operate the boom, use the lift control. Pushing the control forward will raise the boom, while pulling it back will lower it. The extend/retract control allows the operator to extend the boom for additional reach or retract it for storage. It's important to make all movements slowly and smoothly to maintain stability and prevent sudden shifts that could destabilize the platform.

Using the Cherry Picker’s Lifting Mechanism

The lifting mechanism of a cherry picker is what allows it to reach great heights. To use this mechanism, the operator first ensures that the machine is stable and that the outriggers, if present, are deployed. Then, using the lift control, the operator raises the boom to the desired height. It's important to raise the boom slowly and steadily to maintain balance and prevent the platform from swaying.

Once the desired height is reached, the operator can use the extend/retract control to adjust the reach of the boom. Remember, the safety harness should be worn at all times when in the basket, and the weight limit of the platform should never be exceeded. Following these guidelines will ensure safe and efficient operation of the cherry picker's lifting mechanism.

Where to Rent a Cherry Picker in the San Fernando Valley

If you're in need of cherry picker rental in San Fernando, CA, look no further than Calgrove Equipment Rentals. Contact us today to learn more about our services, rental terms, pricing, and more.

Share To: