In 2013, the CPA’s (Construction Plant-hire Association) Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group published a revised guidance intended to help industry reduce the risk of accident and injury when working with telehandlers. Additional new guidance on suspended loads on the ‘Safe Use of Telehandlers in Construction’ has been written to give clarification on good industry practice. This new guidance is now available for download as a four-page stand-alone document and will be incorporated in the main guidance document at its next published revision.
Lifting and travelling with suspended loads is not the primary purpose of telehandlers. When selecting equipment for this activity the first step should be to ensure that a telehandler is suitable for carrying out the task safely. Where other equipment is more suitable, it should be used.
The lifting of suspended loads with telehandlers and travelling with those loads is generally more hazardous than lifting unit loads on the forks of a telehandler.
For example – a 17m telehandler was lifting steel columns from a nearby lay-down area and positioning them for erection. Whilst manoeuvring with the boom section extended to give sufficient ground clearance, the telehandler tilted to one side causing the machine to overturn. The telehandler came to rest when the extended boom penetrated through an adjacent building roof. At the time of the incident, the vehicle was traversing an excessive slope of approximately 1:6 (9.5°, 16.5%). The accident was caused by inappropriate use of the telehandler for this task.
The particular issues associated with using telehandlers to lift suspended loads are covered in the new four-page guidance, these include, Planning, Operator Training, Lifting suspended loads and Travelling with suspended loads. A more detailed explanation of the issues covered in this document, together with the general safe use of telehandlers, can be found in the original document, ‘Safe Use of Telehandlers in Construction’, which may be downloaded free of charge from the CPA Website.
In the new document, the section dealing with tyre replacement and tyre pressures has also been extended, to reflect the importance of tyres on the stability of a telehandler. More emphasis has been added to the guidance on use of seatbelts as an essential safeguard to protect the operator if the machine overturns.
Summaries of “Key Points” for Operators and for Supervisors have been developed based on the Guidance. It is intended that these can adopted and adapted by any company, as the basis for pocket cards, posters or any other relevant format.
The revised version of Safe Use of Telehandlers in Construction is published by the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association), on behalf of the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group, and is available to download from the CPA website at http://cpa.uk.net/sfpsg/#Telehandlers