Overturning risk prompts revisions to telehandler guide

17 October 2012

The UK’s Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has revised its guide to telehandler operation to provide more guidance on the dangers of overturning.

The guide, first launched in February 2011, now gives added emphasis to the importance of tyre pressures. CPA said recent research showed that a 5% reduction in tyre pressure below the recommended level can result in a 30% reduction in rated capacity at certain points on the working envelope, which could result in overturning.

The safe use guide also emphasises the importance of fitting the correct tyres as well as maintaining inflation levels.

Kevin Minton, senior manager at CPA, said, "The most significant development [in the guide] is the understanding of the importance of tyre replacement and tyre pressures and how this can drastically affect the performance and safety of the vehicle."

Another change is an expanded section on seatbelts, which are considered to be an essential safeguard against crushing in the event of an overturn. A study by the UK’s HSE found that of five overturning fatalities of operators in a seven year period, three would have been prevented if the operator had been wearing a seatbelt.

Also, following a meeting between the CPA and the Home Builders Federation (HBF), the section on suspended loads has been extended, with more focus on special training requirements.

The guide notes that basic telehandler operator training does not include the lifting of suspended loads, the lifting of persons or the use of other attachments. It advises that if such operations are to be carried out then the employer must ensure that the operator is suitably trained and assessed as competent. CPA said an industry working group was now looking at training and qualification schemes to help employers.

Kevin Minton, senior manager at CPA, said, "The safe use of telehandlers guide was well received in the industry and the principles of the document have possibly saved lives. The latest revision with added safety points is another step forward in protecting the operator and other site personnel from the potential hazards when using these machines incorrectly.”

The revised Safe Use of Telehandlers in Construction is due to be published by the CPA, on behalf of the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group, in mid-October and will be available to download from the CPA website at www.cpa.uk.net.

The guide will be promoted by CPA at the 2013 Executive Hire Show on 6 and 7 February at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, UK.

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