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Why use outrigger pads?

By Paige Cerulli Created: June, 2022 - Modified: June, 2022

When you’re working with large, heavy equipment like cranes and backhoes, it’s important to have the tools you need to use that equipment safely on each job site. Outrigger pads are essential safety tools, and they’re important investments for your construction business.

Why Use Outrigger Pads?

Outrigger pads are large, dense pads that you place underneath a piece of equipment’s foot, outrigger, or shoe. The pads help to stabilize the equipment, keeping it from sinking into the ground and preventing the ground from shifting while you’re using the equipment.

Even though ground might seem flat and stable, it has slight imperfections that can potentially cause a heavy load to topple over. The pad distributes the machine’s weight more evenly and avoids a situation where you’re anchoring your machine on loose dirt or gravel.

Keep in mind that OSHA requirements include the use of outrigger pads when using certain types of equipment, like cranes.
Outrigger pads offer several benefits:

Increased Job Site Safety

Outrigger pads amount to increased job site safety. These pads could help to prevent accidents and potential equipment vehicle tip-overs.
Those effects could also amount to increased safety for you and your employees. The use of these pads demonstrates to employees that you value and take steps to ensure their safety.

Prevention of Equipment Damage

By better stabilizing your equipment, you can help to prevent it from being damaged in a tip-over or other accident. Outrigger pads are an important investment in your equipment’s protection.

When you use a larger size pad, you can even extend your equipment’s footprint, helping to prevent the foot from sinking down into softer earth. This type of usage can be ideal for equipment that will be parked for a longer period of time, like an RV, and makes it easier to remove the equipment again.

More Versatile Site Maneuverability

Since outrigger pads allow you to safely place and stabilize your equipment even on surfaces that aren’t perfectly flat or firm, they give you more maneuverability around your job site.

Looking for the perfect place to park your truck or crane without the use of outrigger pads could waste valuable time, and such a spot might not exist at certain sites.

With outrigger pads, you’ll have more options and can save time as you move around the job site. You may be better able to maneuver around the site to get your work done, saving time and staying on deadline and within budget.

Qualities to Look for in Outrigger Pads

As you look for outrigger pads, it’s important to choose pads that are the right mats for your equipment and your usage. You can look for several qualities to help you tell which pads are the best choice.

Pad Size

The pad needs to be larger than your equipment shoes. If you want to buy one set of pads that you can use across all of your different equipment, then determine which piece of equipment has the largest shoes and buy pads that are larger than that.

At Greatmats, our smallest pads measure 15x15 inches, while the largest are 4x4 feet. These larger pads offer more stability, so you will need to buy a pad that’s not only appropriate for the shoe size, but also for the type of material that you tend to work on.

Weight Capacity

Our outrigger pads are made of a highly durable plastic, and they offer load capacities of 20,000 pounds and up. It’s essential that you choose a pad that will support the highest load that your equipment will ever carry, or you could damage the pad.

When choosing the pad that’s right for your equipment, don’t forget to defer to your equipment owner manuals. Most manuals include specifications about pad dimensions and capacities.

Care and Maintenance

When your whole business is mobile, you don’t want to have to invest extra time into cleaning and maintaining your outrigger pads. It’s important that you can easily remove the pads, load them, and be on your way.

Look for pads that can be hosed down and scraped off for simple and fast maintenance. Consider, too, how easy the pads are to move.

When you’re working with 4x4 footpads, make sure they’re equipped with handles so that you can move them easily. Our pads have orange handles that not only make them easy to grip, but that are also easy to see.

Durability

Pads are an important business investment, but you also want to be sure that the pad is going to last for years. At Greatmats, our outrigger pads are manufactured from an engineered thermoplastic, which makes them strong and supportive.

The plastic resists challenges common on job sites, including water and oils, extreme temperatures, and chemicals. They’re built for repeated use, so their purchase is a long-term investment in your business.


For more on this topic please review our Outrigger Pads product page.