Death prompts telehandler warning

Health and Safety Executive - Safety alert

Department Name:
Field Operations Directorate

Bulletin No:
FOD SPG 3-2010

Issue Date:
23 March 2010

Target Audience:
Agriculture, Construction, Quarries, Food, Manufacturing, Wood, Waste

Key Issues:
Operator receives fatal injuries after being trapped under the boom of a variable reach truck, commonly known as a Telehandler. Warning of the danger of not replacing broken or missing side windows on variable reach trucks, following the third such accident. If the side screen glass is broken or missing the machine should be removed from use until the screen glass has been replaced.


Following a recent fatal accident in Scotland the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning all users of telescopic variable reach trucks, commonly known as telehandlers, of the danger of not replacing broken windows on these machines.


This Safety Notice is issued after a 36-year-old man was killed whilst operating a telehandler. It is suspected that the man was leaning through the broken right side window aperture, when he was crushed and fatally injured by the descending boom.

This is the third similar fatal accident in the last 7 years. In the two earlier incidents the operator is thought to have been leaning out of the window aperture and to have also leaned on the boom control joystick inadvertently lowered the boom onto themselves. Once trapped under the boom in this way they were then not able to stop it.

The side window on variable reach trucks is designed as a guard to prevent operator access to the boom. If the glass screen is broken or missing, operators may lean out of the window aperture and can inadvertently lower the boom onto themselves. They may not realise the danger they face, and if the boom does lower onto them, that they may not be able to stop it.

Action required:

If this side glass screen is broken or missing the machine should be removed from use until it has been replaced. Machine owners, users and operators should be warned of the dangers of operating their machines with the side screen broken or missing, and the importance of reporting such damage as soon as it occurs.

Users are also reminded of the importance of carrying out daily checks of the condition of their trucks, and that the condition of the cab windows is part of these inspections.

Relevant legal documents:


EN 1459:1998 Safety of industrial trucks - Self-propelled variable reach trucks.

Further information:

Further information is available in "Safe use of work equipment" Approved Code of Practice and guidance (L22); and "Safe use of Lifting Equipment" Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (L113).

General note:

Please pass this information to anyone responsible for the use or maintenance of this Equipment.