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TELEHANDLER VISIBILITY GUIDANCE PUBLISHED

Driver vision and vehicle / pedestrian segregation key to telehandler safety    

Telescopic handlers (telehandlers) used in the construction industry are involved in some 2-3 fatal incidents each year. These deaths occur primarily when pedestrians are struck or when the vehicle overturns.

Practicable steps must be taken to avoid telehandler hazards by avoidance or segregation. However, sigificant risk will often remain where the direct field of vision of the driver is inadequate to ensure safety.

Telehandler users must provide adequate devices for improving visibility for the driver based on risk assessment. 

This may mean that users have to provide additional aids to those originally supplied by the manufacturer where particular site conditions indicate that risks cannot be adequately addressed by other means, e.g. segregation.

HSE visibility guidance to Inspectors now available

SIM No. 05/2010/03 – Visibility for operators of telehandlers (variable reach lift trucks) provides information on the visibility requirements for the operator of common types of telehandlers and describes the measures required in order to comply with the PUWER Regulations 1998.

HSE advise that in general users will need to consider the following factors when choosing appropriate visibility aids including wide angle convex mirrors, CCTV and sensing aids:

  1. Vehicle speed and stopping performance: visibility aids must be able to allow the driver to respond to a hazard in good time to prevent impact.
  2. Site conditions: the type of visibility aid fitted to the equipment should be appropriate for the site’s conditions. In certain circumstances, users will prefer to use colour CCTV because of the improved contrast it provides against certain backgrounds.
  3. Lighting conditions: vehicle lighting systems may compensate for low ambient light.
  4. Human factors: the aids should be selected and fitted to maximise the operator’s chances of perceiving danger. Too many aids may confuse an operator and render them ineffective. The positioning of monitors and mirrors should take into account the drivers normal operating position for the relevant direction of travel and minimise the number of different locations an operator needs to look. Where frequent, repetitive operations are performed [such as loading from a stockpile] the risk of the driver failing to use a vision aid increases and it may be beneficial to provide additional automatic sensing systems. Some additional aids may also be appropriate for ergonomic reasons, e.g. to reduce the need for the driver to frequently look over their shoulder.

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