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A warm welcome for telehandler lifting rules

LETTERS

Sir, With regard to lifting regulations being applied to telehandlers, I am surprised the Health and Safety Executive has not looked into telehandlers and their use as cranes long before now.

These machines are a fantastic piece of equipment, ideal for what they are designed to do.

But they must not be used as substitutes for cranes.

Every time I go to a site and see materials hoisted to great heights, I am in awe of just what these machines are capable of.

Then I see the other side of the coin - steel, timber, cladding, shuttering, rebar, even machinery, being hoisted precariously into situ.

Loads are rarely secured to the machine, so a slight tilt of the forks and off it comes. I wonder how many serious accidents have been caused like this?

Congratulations to both the HSE and Construction Planthire Association for getting together on telehandlers. They should be subject to the same safety regime as mobile cranes.

As an appointed person I find it extremely frustrating when I am asked to carry out a risk assessment - telling builders what type and size of crane to use and working out a method statement - only to be subsequently told they have a machine on site capable of doing the job, so avoiding the cost of a crane.

Safety goes out of the window.

If telehandlers are to be used in place of cranes, they must come under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations. Contractors should have to provide risk assessments and method statements and have an appointed person supervising operations. Safety should not be compromised for the sake of a few pounds.

May I suggest that the next target for the HSE is the use of Hiabs on the back of lorries doing a similar sort of thing.

Michael Roberts Appointed Person Advisory Services Newbold, Chesterfield