Telescopic handlers

What you need to do

The law says you must organise your site so that you segregate pedestrians and telescopic handlers (telehandlers).Those telehandlers used must be carefully selected, maintained and operated by trained drivers. Key issues are:

What you need to know

A safe workplace for all vehicle operations must be established by separating pedestrians and vehicles and providing hazard-free traffic routes. See Traffic management

Telehandler hazards

Most fatal and serious injuries involving telehandlers occur when the vehicle is:

  • Moving – and strikes a pedestrian, particularly while reversing;
  • Lifting – and overturns trapping the operator or person nearby.

Both of these hazards should be identified within a risk assessment and suitable control measures put in place.

Controlling the risk

It is important to select the right vehicle for the job and site. There are a number of precautions that can reduce the risk of persons being struck or the vehicle overturning. These are:

  • Visibility: Select telehandlers with the best view around them directly from the driver position.
  • Rear visibility: Visibility to the rear may present a significant hazard. The vehicle should be equipped with adequate aids so drivers can see areas where people may be at risk. A signaller may be needed in some circumstances.
  • Forward visibility: Similarly, when in operation with the boom raised and other configurations, there may be a significant 'blind spot' to the front right-hand side of the vehicle.
  • Ground conditions: Working on sloping, uneven or unstable ground can be hazardous. Telehandlers normally require prepared, flat, graded surfaces to operate safely. Even rough-terrain lift trucks have strict operational limits that need to be observed.
  • Loading: Overloading can be prevented by selection of the correct vehicle and good management. Moving with a raised load is dangerous and should be avoided at all times.
  • Speed: a site speed limit should be established. Driving at excessive speed around corners can cause the vehicle to overturn.

Training and competence

Drivers and pedestrians must be trained and competent regarding the telehandler hazards and precautions:

  • Drivers should be trained, competent and authorised to operate the specific telehandler used. Training certificates from recognised schemes help demonstrate competence and certificates should be checked for validity; and
  • Pedestrians should be instructed in safe pedestrian routes on site and the procedure for making drivers aware of their presence.

Inspection and maintenance

A programme of daily visual checks, regular inspections and servicing schedules should be established in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and the risks associated with each vehicle.

Drivers should be encouraged to report defects or problems. Reported problems should be put right quickly and the excavator taken out of service if the item is safety critical.

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