Ever been stuck behind one of these on a country road or walked past a building site and thought how did that guy even get that licence?
I know I have! Well, actually it all starts here!
First of all, what actually is it and why is it different from a forklift?
Telescopic Handler (also known as a telehandler)
Whilst forklifts are generally preferred in factories and warehouses, telescopic handlers are usually chosen to work in outdoor areas.
The construction industry is a big supporter of these machines as they can be used on both large and small worksites and be customised to fill in for more expensive equipment such as diggers and cranes. It is also used often in the agriculture sector where farmers require larger machines to carry large loads into awkward places that forklifts and other light vehicles might not be able to reach! There are some aesthetic changes that are easy to notice between the two different vehicles the size, height and weight of the loads are double of the standard forklift with a few more attachments chucked in for fun! What makes this even better is the 4 wheel drive system that makes moving on the rough ground seem like a dream! So I guess the best way to describe it would be a bigger, superior forklift!
It’s not just the look that sets telescopic handlers apart from forklifts as users have discovered different uses for the larger of the two vehicles.
Unlike forklifts that only have their lifting forks, the boom on telescopic handlers can have different attachments fitted to it to help carry out specific functions. Many people do choose to attach pallet forks to the vehicle in order to move exceptionally large or awkward loads but this is just the tip of the iceberg. They can also be fitted with hooks to help them act like a mini-crane on a worksite whilst scoops and buckets can also be attached to help move and transport soft material like dirt or cement.
It’s not uncommon for some people to group telescopic handlers and forklifts into the same category. After all, they are both versatile machines in any area and can lift and carry large objects. However, there are several subtle differences between the two machines in terms of what they are and how they are used on industrial sites in different industries.
With telescope handlers having a larger body and apparatus, it means that they are able to go the extra distance that forklifts can’t achieve. When used in outside areas, many drivers prefer to use handlers to lift materials or heavy items onto platforms and rooftops as it safer and more practical.
At the end of the day, both machines have a similar purpose in the industry however telescopic handlers have evolved to become better suited for the awkward and large jobs that its baby cousin struggles to deal with on a daily basis.
The basic function of a lift truck is to lift and transport heavy loads, this can cause problems of balance. The pivot point of a lift truck is the centre of the front axle (the bulk of the chassis weight is centred over the rear axle and this chassis weight acts as a counter balance when loads are lifted. The further the centre c gravity moves away from the pivot point the greater the force exerted against the balancing weight, eventually resulting in the truck becoming unstable. The stability of the truck depends therefore not only on the weight of the load but also the distance of the centre of the load from the pivot point.
Centre of gravity of the load
By Law, the Rated Capacity of a lift truck must not exceed four-fifths of the balance weight. The balance weight of a forklift truck is established by a machine test carried out during manufacture. Therefore the rated capacity (or safe working load) of a truck with a balanced load of 5OOOkg will not exceed 4000kg. Making vital to take the necessary training!
- To teach the basic skills and safety rules required to operate a lift truck in a safe and efficient manner.
- To encourage the operator to maintain and promote these skills by the continued use of good practices.
- To maintain a safe working environment within the workplace.
- To meet the legal duties and responsibilities of the employer and employees under, the relevant sections of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. And to comply with the standards laid down in the Health & Safety Commissions Approved Code of Practice and Supplementary Guidance for Lift Truck Operator Training.
- To provide an appreciable cost saving through the training by reducing damage to the machine, its loads and surrounding plant and equipment.
- By applying the training achieved, the operators and supervisors skill levels and confidence will develop to a high professional level. This will then lead to safety and efficiency in the workplace this should help to reduce injuries, damage and downtime.
- Companies are always on the lookout for drivers with this licence, the reason being not many people have it.
Skills that will help you along the way!
- Concentration: A high level of concentration is probably the most crucial skill a forklift driver needs to possess due to the potentially dangerous nature of the work.
- Discipline: Drivers should be disciplined enough to follow the strict health and safety rules that are in place.
- Organisation: Good preparation and organisational skills are very useful particularly when working in adverse conditions.
- Adaptability: Forklifts are normally not the only equipment an employee will have to use and so drivers need to be adaptable enough to use a wide array of machines. These can range from standard pump trucks to more complicated vehicles such as counter-balances and side-loading trucks
- Teamwork: Virtually all jobs require teamwork but few more so than forklift drivers. Due to the nature of the role, drivers will need to work closely with numerous types of employee from their own company as well as people working on behalf of other employers such as lorry drivers. Good teamwork and communication skills are also important when working with other forklift drivers so as to work together as safely and effectively as possible.
Companies are always on the lookout for drivers with this licence, the reason being not many people have it. You could expect to earn anything up to £15 per hour!
Now I hear you say….How do I get this licence?
Give us a call on 01276 409628!