Helmets hanging up at a construction site

A telescopic handler, or telehandler, can be used as a crane, power elevated platform or a forklift, but most importantly the equipment must be safe to use and the operator must be competent in their job to prevent serious accidents from occurring.

In fact, accidents with telehandlers happen on a regular basis across the world, and companies must be aware of best practices in order to minimize these risks. 

Telehandlers are often designed to accommodate several interchangeable attachments on the end of the boom, such as a work platform, forks or a winch, and that means inspections are key to making sure the equipment is in a high-quality working condition.

Sparta Engineering has listed six easy tips that will help your telehandler operators avoid accidents and stay safe while at work:

1 – Pay attention when loading the telehandler

The operator of a telehandler should always make sure that they do not exceed the maximum weight in the equipment’s user manual. Excessively heavy loads can cause telehandlers to tilt. Many telehandlers will have a safety system that prevents them from lifting loads that are heavier than allowed.

2 – Always keep the forks 30cm off the ground

When driving a telehandler the forks should be 30cm or more from the ground at all times, and the fork carriage should be tilted back when carrying a load. Special attention should be paid to the height of the forks when driving on uneven surfaces.

3 – Drive safely at all times

Telehandlers often have to drive on public roads, and, as a result, they can often reach speeds of around 40km/h. This means operators should drive slower and with extra care while on construction sites, as well as taking into account the terrain and the telehandler’s load while driving.

Sudden starts and stops can cause accidents, as well as driving too fast up or down hills. Unexpected movements can cause the telehandler to lose its load or tilt over.

4 – Get your telehandler inspected

The governments in Western Canada do not currently require your telehandlers to be inspected. However, here at Sparta Engineering, we are increasingly running into construction sites that won’t allow them on site unless they have been inspected first.

Outsourcing a professional weld and structural inspection will certify the safety of your telehandler, meaning higher quality equipment, more efficient results for your business and a safer environment for your employees.

5 – Lower the boom when driving

The higher the boom is on your telehandler, the high your centre of gravity is – meaning you’re more likely to topple over. Make sure you travel with the boom lowered as much as possible, while ensuring visibility of the driver, to keep the vehicle stable.

6 – Correctly train your operators

The most important thing when it comes to the safety of telehandlers is making sure your company’s operators are appropriately trained. Improve the safety of your employees by making sure each operator has in-depth knowledge and experience with the machines they are operating.

Safety is paramount for your company and your employees, and by following a list of strict comprehensive guidelines, as well as getting your telehandlers inspected on a regular basis, will ensure your equipment is not only safe, but working to the best of its ability.

Want to learn more about our inspection services? Contact Sparta Engineering today.