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    TELESCOPIC HANDLERS (TELEHANDLERS)

     

    TELEHANDLERS ARE INVOLVED IN 20% OF ALL MOBILE PLANT DEATHS 

    Main hazards

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

    • Moving: and the vehicle 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.

    Principal standards

    The Strategic Forum for Construction – Plant Safety Group standard Safe Use of Telehandlers In Constructionis the most recent and comprehensive guide (2011). The document provides best practice guidance on the management and supervision of the use of telehandlers on construction sites including:

    • planning and equipment selection;
    • selection and training of personnel;
    • provision of information and familiarisation;
    • safe use, maintenance, inspection and thorough examination; and
    • together with monitoring of the whole process.

    The document structure starts with principles and moves on to specific requirements and information.  A topic index had been provided at Annex H to facilitate easy navigation of the Best Practice Guide

    HSE has provide online telehandler safety guidance for the construction sector giving a concise of summary of what is required.

    On site traffic management

    HSE publication: The safe use of vehicles on construction sites: A guide for clients, designers, contractors, managers and workers involved with construction transport – can be downloaded free of charge.

    It provides a “Practical guidance on how to prevent on-site vehicle accidents. From general advice on planning and management of vehicle operations, to more pointed matters like the selection, maintenance and safe driving of vehicles”.

    Vision from driving position

    The safe use of telehandlers depends crucially on visibility from the driving position when moving forward and in reverse. Vision from the operating position will vary depending on the design of the vehicle.

    Where the driver’s direct field of vision is inadequate to ensure safety devices for improving driver must be provided e.g. mirrors and CCTV.

    Use as a working platform

    Telehandlers are primarily intended for lifting materials and not people. However, they can be used with working platforms to allow people to work at height

    The safest way to use a telehandler as a working platform is with an integrated working platform with the vehicle capable of operation from the working platform. If a non-integrated platform is used it must meet the HSE standard.

    An integrated working platform provides a higher level of safety than a non-integrated type. Nevertheless, a non-integrated working platform may be used when it provides a safer means of access than, for example, improvised stairs or platforms or a ladder that would otherwise be used and it is impracticable to use an integrated working platform.

    Prevention of overturning

    Telehandlers can overturn when operated outside parameters specified by the vehicle manufacturer. 

    Factors likely to affect the risk of overturning are:

    • 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 of operators

    Operators must be fully trained, competent and in receipt of proof of training. The law does not prescribe how training etc is to be demonstrated. However, the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) is a card scheme to prove the skills of plant operators.

    CPCS is the largest and most recognised card scheme for the plant industry. Many project principal contractors require plant operators to hold valid CPCS ‘ticket’ for plant being operated .

    Telehandlers in the news

    Telehandlers have been involved in a number of HSE Prosecutions.

    Relevant industry bodies

    The Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA). The CPA membership comprises in excess of 1,500 companies, who jointly represent over 90% by turnover of all UK Construction Plant Hire.

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