When used improperly or without the right training and experience, telehandlers can be dangerous. The operator’s manual, for the specific telehandler being used, should be read thoroughly beforehand. Only trained and certified operators should operate the equipment. Let us cover some general safety tips.
Tips to remember:
- Inspection: A daily inspection should be done on the equipment before operating. Additionally, regular maintenance and repairs should be part of procedures. The jobsite should be inspected daily as well before operations begin for any notable hazards.
- Working around high voltage lines and other obstructions: During the daily site inspection it should be noted if there are any high voltage lines on location as well as working in other tight spaces around building or equipment. A strategy should be put in place for either. If power lines are on location a set plan should be established for working around or shutting down the energy.
- Load safety: Operators should study the lift charts for their machine being used and know the maximum capacity not to be exceeded. Consider all items and material to be lifted and ensure it can be done safely. Ensure the load is secure and use appropriate anchoring devices if needed.
- Transporting the load: Always use 3 points of contact when entering and exiting the cab.
Seatbelts should be worn any time the telehandler is being used. Plan the path of travel and remove any obstacles. Forks should be carried 30cm from the ground and tilted slightly backward. If the operator is unable to see the path going forward, the telehandler should be backed. Ensure all workers onsite are trained to stay clear of the telehandler when in use. Speed should remain slow and steady while moving a load and should remain at a safe slow speed during any other travel.
- Elevating the load: Once in position and ready to elevate the load set the parking brake. Elevate the load first, then extend. Operator should pay close attention to hand signals from crew.
- Placing the load: Once the load is in place the operator can deposit the material and carefully remove the forks. Crew should only approach the offloaded items when they have been deposited and the telehandler is retracting.