Winter storms often bring strong winds and heavy precipitation, with occasional blizzards. Many areas experience power outages and network downtime in the wake of these storms. Electrical and telecommunication companies work overtime in trying conditions to restore these services, so they need heavy-duty equipment to help them achieve prompt results. That’s where digger derricks come in. These sturdy diggers are an essential component in restoring power lines damaged by severe storms.  

Here at Custom Truck One Source, we offer a range of durable digger derricks to improve the safety and efficiency of your power restoration projects. Explore the benefits of having a digger derrick in your fleet when the next storm strikes.  

The Role of Digger Derricks in Winter Power Line Restoration

The utility and telecommunications industry needs equipment capable of creating deep holes to secure long, heavy poles. Utility companies use digger derricks to make straight, narrow holes in the ground so they can install utility poles and power lines. These holes can be as deep as 10 feet and measure up to 30 inches in width. Digger derricks also have a sturdy boom to lift technicians, allowing them to conduct repairs on tall power lines.  The most convenient way to transport these poles is to use a pole trailer. 

Although utility poles are secure under normal circumstances, severe weather can change that. Galeforce winds from a winter storm may cause these poles to fall over. Strong winds also uproot tall trees that fall onto power lines, pulling utility poles from the ground. Digger derricks come in handy during these emergencies, as they equip utility companies to drill new holes for replacement poles and quickly restore damaged power lines.  

Safety Measures in Winter Power Line Work

Electricians and telecommunications technicians brave harsh working conditions in winter. They are exposed to frigid temperatures, dangerous winds, flooding, and slippery surfaces — sometimes all at once. Workers may experience the following safety risks: 

  • Frostbite 
  • Cold stress 
  • Injuries due to falling 
  • Hypothermia 

Thankfully, digger derricks come with a range of safety features to protect technicians in these dangerous conditions. Some of the most prominent safety features include: 

  • Hydraulic overload protection (HOP): If the boom takes on too much weight, the HOP system will stop it from continuing to lift the load. 
  • Pole guide interlock: This feature helps technicians guide the utility pole into the ground, which is vital in weather with poor visibility.  
  • Rotation load protection: Technicians can prevent excessive rotational loading with this safety feature.  
  • Separate boom and outrigger operations: This feature prevents technicians from simultaneously operating the boom and outrigger controls.  
  • Durable parking brake: The parking brake must be engaged for technicians to actuate the boom.  

Efficient Pole Installations With Digger Derricks

After the technicians create a new hole with the required dimensions, they must install a new power pole. Thanks to its powerful hydraulic boom, the digger derrick can hoist heavy utility poles and position them in the ground, allowing workers to install them safely and efficiently.  

The digger derrick’s versatility saves your team time when installing new utility poles, especially during storms — instead of needing multiple machines for digging, hoisting, and installing, you have one that does everything. Only needing one piece of equipment also helps preserve your bottom line since the derrick handles the functions of several other material handling units. 

Reliability in Adverse Weather

During winter, technicians have to work in challenging conditions. Heavy rainfall, thick snow, and icy surfaces reduce a truck’s traction, leading to serious accidents. Fortunately, digger derricks were built to withstand these trying conditions. These machines come in wheeled or tracked configurations so they can tackle rugged terrains in adverse weather.  

You may have to conduct power line repairs in rainy weather, exposing you to electrical current and water. Digger derricks come with insulation capabilities, keeping you safe during power line restorations. These durable features contribute to faster and more effective restoration projects.  

The Right Equipment for the Job

There are many types of digger derricks designed for specific applications, so it’s essential to assess your industry needs to determine the right model for the job. Consider these tips on choosing the right equipment for power line restoration projects: 

  • Weight capabilities: Determine the weight of the objects you intend to lift and ensure the boom can lift that weight at 10 feet from the truck’s centerline.  
  • Height limits: Choose a digger with a sheave height of at least two-thirds of the utility pole’s height.  
  • Ground conditions: A tracked unit may be more suitable for thick snow or muddy grounds.  
  • Auger size: Consider the depth and radius of the holes you intend to dig and select a digger derrick that can lift an auger with that volume of material. 

Choose the Right Partner for Reliable Equipment and Support

Choosing a digger derrick is not the only decision you have to make to keep your operations moving forward. You also have to partner with a reputable supplier for long-term success. At Custom Truck One Source, we take pride in offering high-quality equipment and excellent customer service. In many cases, our call center team can provide a solution over the phone, saving you time during restoration projects.  

We have a large fleet of new, used, and rentable digger derricks ready to meet your unique needs. With 35+ locations across the United States and Canada, our team can help you choose the right equipment for your application, ensuring you get value for your money.