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When and How to Use a Cherry Picker


how to use a cherry picker

A cherry picker is a type of aerial work platform that consists of a bucket at the end of a hydraulic lifting system. They are used to lift the operator to otherwise inaccessible areas, such as the top of buildings, high trees, or to wash windows on the side of a skyscraper. Cherry pickers require specific skills and knowledge to operate them properly and safely, and all operators need professional cherry picker training. Workers interested in becoming qualified should look into the certification program with for online, convenient, and affordable education.

If you’re interested in learning more about cherry pickers and how to use a cherry picker, here are a few examples of situations that require the aid of a cherry picker:

Orchard Picking and Tree Trimming

Cherry pickers got their name from their original use, which was picking fruit from tall trees in orchards. Modern equipment improved the safety in the field when the use of ladders was too risky. Cherry pickers are still used for this purpose today, as well as to trim tree branches and limbs in otherwise unclimbable trees.

Building Maintenance

Tall buildings need to be continuously cleaned and painted. Ladders are not always sufficient, and they present many safety risks. Cherry pickers give operators security and mobility and are used to wash windows, paint siding, and complete other maintenance tasks.

Telephone and Electrical Pole Servicing

There are thousands of miles of telephone and electricity poles around the world, and cherry pickers are used to maintain and repair them. For all those employed in these fields, cherry pickers are a regular part of their daily routine because they help to ensure they can reach the area needing servicing in the safest manner possible.

Rescue Missions

Cherry pickers have been used to rescue people from high elevations, including malfunctioned roller coasters. Firefighters also use cherry pickers to rescue people trapped in tall buildings. When a ladder is not sufficient or safe, cherry pickers are used to bring those on upper floors to safety. Knowing how to use a cherry picker in rescue missions is a valuable skill for police departments, military units, and more.

How to Use a Cherry Picker

Here’s a basic outline of how to use a cherry picker:

  1. Before you operate any aerial lift (including cherry pickers), you should be properly trained to the latest OSHA safety standards. has a complete training program to ensure you’re up to speed on important safety concepts. The safe use of cherry pickers is required by OSHA – which means everyone involved should have the latest safety training!
  2. Ensure ground stability. It’s recommended that your cherry picker is not parked on a slope or incline.
  3. If the weather could compromise your job (wind, rain, snow, etc.), check with your safety supervisor to see if you should proceed.
  4. Conduct a risk assessment for overhead hazards. Just some include power lines, trees, buildings, overpasses, etc.
  5. Before going inside cherry picker cabin, secure all personal protective equipment, including safety harnesses, fall protection accessories, etc.
  6. Elevate at a reasonable speed. Don’t try to ascend too quickly.
  7. Communicate with the vehicle driver when you need to reposition the cherry picker.
  8. Pay attention to changing climate conditions during your tasks (see #3 above). This is an important step in how to use a cherry picker; you can never be too careful.
  9. Once you’re finished in the cherry picker cabin, coordinate with ground crew for safe return to ground level.
  10. Lower the cherry picker at a reasonable speed. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended operating requirements.
  11. Make your co-workers or site safety supervisor aware of any hazards or conditions that weren’t covered in the initial assessment in step #4. An example could be a hidden power line, or erratic wind conditions created by a nearby structure.


Lighting and Filming for Movies and Sporting Events

While designed for practical reasons, cherry pickers are also used to increase the dramatization of many films and theater performances. They are also known as “Condors” and are often used to suspend large lights above film sets when not on a soundstage. They are also used during sporting events to mount camera equipment high into the air to give watchers a birds-eye view of the game. This isn’t a typical use for this type of aerial lift, as the specialized planning involved requires collaboration with event planners, maintenance personnel, and facility supervisors. If you’d like to learn how to use a cherry picker to set up lighting, has the training you’re looking for!

Safe Use of Cherry Pickers

Keep these safety tips in mind when using a cherry picker:

  • Create a stable base. Terrain plays an important role in cherry picker safety. If the surrounding terrain is choppy, uneven, or slippery, find another area to work. The safe use of cherry pickers starts from the ground up.
  • Watch for overhead hazards. Power lines, buildings, trees, bridges, and other overhead hazards can prevent the safe use of cherry pickers. ALC’s safety training provides more information on how to deal with overhead hazards.
  • Communicate with ground crew. If you need to move the cherry picker or require any assistance, always stay in touch with the ground crew. A cherry picker operator in the bucket can’t do the job alone; to ensure the safe use of cherry pickers, keep those lines of communication open!
  • Report any hazards to your supervisor. This is important for the safe use of cherry pickers. If you encounter any hazards or dangerous conditions, make sure your boss or co-workers are aware. This is helpful for cherry picker users who are on the same job site multiple times.

These are only a few safety tips for cherry picker operators. When you sign up for ALC’s training packages, you’ll have everything you need to become OSHA compliant.

Cherry pickers are used around the world for many different functions. But whether they’re used for a concert or to repair an electrical cable line, operators are required to be trained and certified. Cherry picker training is the essential education that improves the safety of workplaces all over the country. And it is the best way to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur every year due to amateur workers. Not to mention, OSHA requires it.

If you’re looking into becoming a cherry picker operator or would like to know how to use a cherry picker, check out the high-quality, OSHA compliant cherry picker certification with They can have you certified in about one hour from the comfort of your home. Sign up today for the incredibly affordable course! 

For any questions about the safe use of cherry pickers, or if you’re interested in becoming compliant today, call ALC today at (888) 278 – 8896.


Learn More about the Safe Use of Cherry Pickers

Performing Artists Who Have Used Cherry Pickers as Part of Their Acts

From the Super Bowl to world-famous music concerts, cherry pickers play an important role in the production of some of the most watched events in history. While athletes, singers, and movie superstars always grab the spotlight, let’s not forget the unsung hero: the cherry picker! This equipment is one of the go-to tools for shows at arenas, stadiums, and other large venues. And just like OSHA complaint cherry picker operators, even famous stars need to be aware of the safe use of cherry pickers. In this post, we look at how famous celebrities like Justin Bieber, Kanye West, and Michael Jackson have used cherry pickers for unforgettable performances. But what everyone wants to know is this: are they concerned about the safe use of cherry pickers? You’ll have to read it to find out!

This post was originally written in 2016 and updated as of 2018. 

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