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THIRD DEATH PROMPTS HSE TELEHANDLER WARNING

Plant operator died after leaning through broken cab window

HSE has issued a warning on the danger of not replacing broken windows on telescopic variable reach trucks (telehandlers) following a fataliity in Scotland in February 2010. The industrial sector involved is not disclosed. 

The warning follows the death of a 36-year-old man who is it believed lent through the broken window aperture of his vehicle and was crushed by the descending boom.

Third similar death in the last seven years

The HSE Safety Notice states that this is the third similar fatal accident in the last 7 years. The other deaths occurred in 2003 and 2008.

In the two earlier incidents the operator is thought to have activated the boom control joystick inadvertently lowering the boom onto themselves. 

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.

Variable reach trucks are commonly found in agriculture, construction and quarries, but are also used in many other industries. Telehandlers are designed to the European standard EN 1459:1998 Safety of industrial trucks – Self-propelled variable reach trucks.

Action required

  1. Remove machines from use if the telehandler side glass screen is broken or missing;
  2. Warn machine owners, users and operators of the dangers and the need to report damage as soon as it occurs; and
  3. Carry out daily checks on the condition of trucks and include the cab window as part of the inspections.

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