After another recent fatal incident, HSE have issued warnings over the safety procedures of telescopic handlers or ‘telehandlers’ as they are commonly known. The warnings come after an alarming number of workmen have lost their lives due to safety standards not being met or improper use of machinery.
Using Telescopic Handlers correctly
The main point on the HSE’s (Health and Safety Executive)warning is to not use telehandlers to “drive in fence posts”. They have found that this is a widespread practise among farmers, but can lead to fatal results, the most recent of which being in the summer of 2013. The farming industry has been in the spotlight recently for the increased number of injury claims in recent years. In February 2014 the HSE reported that over the last 10 years almost one person a week has been killed as a direct result of agriculture work. This makes farming one of the most hazardous sectors to work in. Adding to the growing pressure of lacking safety standards is the fact that in the farming industry families often work together, putting a number people from the same family in similar danger every day. Farmers are being called on to improve and maintain safety behaviours for the good of the industry and its people.
The HSE has offered advice for telescopic handler operators to help them ensure safe working conditions. In the majority of the telehandler incidents a fence post has been held a short distance from the machine whilst the bucket has been lowered onto the post. This hugely endangers the person who is holding the fence post as conditions are often unpredictable and outcomes erratic. The individual is in danger of the bucket colliding into them and therefore being crushed or trapped by it, or even struck or run over by the telehandler itself.
There are always risks when dealing with machines of this type, however that risk is hugely increased when using them improperly in this way because as the bucket pushes in the posts, the tendency is for the bucket to be lifted. This results in the rare, but not rare enough, occurrence of the bucket fully detaching from the attachment mechanism. It is thought that in some of the incidents the controls that lock the bucket into place have been inadvertently switched, which is why it is incredibly important to: ensure all operators know the function of all controls, be sure the operators manual is being followed, know the procedures for attaching and detaching bucket and all other attachments, understand what attachments are needed for what jobs, and have the proper training to operate the machine.