Thank Goodness for Digger Derricks!

Autos & TrucksTrucks

  • Author Christopher Hunter
  • Published December 12, 2011
  • Word count 757

Compared to what life was like centuries ago, it is safe to say that things are now a whole lot better. Electricity is readily available to power various appliances; long distance communication is much faster because of telephone lines; hundreds of channels are delivered via a cable connection; and the internet has opened up a world of possibilities. Utilities that deliver such a valuable service are conveyed via overhead lines held up by utility poles. The digger derrick truck that is purchased from a digger sale is one type of equipment that has made such services widely available and less expensive.

Overhead cables are the fastest and most inexpensive means of establishing connections. Unlike underground installations, there is no need to conduct costly drilling operations and the lines are conveniently accessible for servicing. Before digger derricks were developed, workers had to manually dig the holes to plant the poles. Now, considering the number of posts required for a single mile and the time and workforce needed to dig a single hole, the old method is clearly a time consuming and inefficient process. With the help of digger derricks, utility pole installation has never been easier.


The need for this vehicle has continually risen as more posts are needed to expand the services of electric companies. Manual labor is inefficient, so to provide necessary services to remote areas quickly, a type of equipment had to be developed that would make the practice of boring holes for utility companies a fast and easy process. This is how the use of the digger derrick came into play.

Following the principle behind handheld drills and augers, designers developed a large auger to match the diameter size of standard poles. The auger needed to be mobile so it can move from one spot to another quickly. Another requirement was that the base must be capable of providing power to rotate the massive bit. The standard truck frame proved to have sufficient force for this role.

In order to move the bit into position and retract it when driving, it was attached to a boom. A hydraulic system has served as the muscle power to move the boom and to rotate the massive auger bit. To stabilize the truck while maneuvering the boom and to keep it steady while drilling, it has been equipped with a set of outriggers; they are a set of hydraulically-powered legs that stabilize the truck when the auger is in use.

Safety Guidelines

The digger derrick has effectively reduced the length of time required to dig holes to plant utility poles. It cannot be overlooked that having a fully exposed, massive drill bit rotating about does come with some serious risks. It exposes workers to flying debris from the rotating bit as well as the potentially lethal act of getting caught by the rotating bit. So before proceeding with the job, it is important to abide by the following safety guidelines.

  • Aerial Obstructions - Check for any overhead obstructions. When lowering the drill's boom, it has to have enough room to maneuver. Find a spot with no overhead objects such as tree branches, low-lying power lines, or signs that could get caught on the truck’s boom.

  • Solid Surface - Choose a surface that is solid enough to support the outriggers. Placement of the outriggers will alter the balance of the truck, so the surface must be solid enough to support the weight of the truck. Check the ground for any hollowed structures that could give in, such as culverts as well as any buried nettings that could become entangled with the auger. Ground the truck in case a buried live wire gets caught by the bit.

  • Safe Distance - Keep workers at a safe distance from the auger, at least 30 feet away. When operating the equipment, always wear safety goggles to protect eyes from flying debris. Do not wear any clothing that could get caught on the rotating auger.

The development of the digger derrick has not only made the lives of utility workers easier, it has made the lives of everyone who uses utility services delivered via overhead lines a whole lot simper. It is also important for operators of this heavy-duty equipment to keep in mind that these machines can be potentially dangerous to operate and that all of the safety guidelines set forth above should be strictly followed. So keep all this in mind when looking for one at a digger sale and be thankful for the benefits of owning a digger derrick!

Christopher M. Hunter is an expert in the auctioning of industrial equipment. To find out more about Digger Sales, go to the main website at:

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