“Only travel with the boom and load in the lowest possible position,” says Webber. “Properly centering and cradling can also help stabilize the load during transport.”
Avoid raising or dropping the boom suddenly, which could compromise load retention or machine stability.
Take Your Position
Do your homework prior to lifting and placing/retrieving materials at heights. “Study and apply load charts carefully. Do not exceed maximum capacity within each respective load range,” Rabe emphasizes. “Utilize the load chart to make sure the machine is within range to place or retrieve a load consistent with the weight of the load and distance required. Use stabilizers (outriggers) if needed.”
Prior to arriving at the lift site, check to ensure the ground will have adequate strength to support the weight of both the machine and the load throughout the lift. Then position the telehandler to allow you to place or retrieve the load without moving or repositioning the machine.
Park the telehandler on a level surface, or level out the machine. “Position the machine to lift the load, and level the machine from side to side by using the frame level function and the level indicator,” says Boeckman. The boom and attachment must not be raised more than 4 ft. unless the telehandler is level.
A trained operator should be able to recognize whether visibility may be compromised during picking or placement of the load at maximum lift heights. “If so, then use of a spotter with standard hand signals or alternative communication tools such as a two-way radio should be considered to communicate to the operator the placement of the load and/or attachment,” Webber states.
Slow the movements of the attachment and load when operating at maximum heights, he continues. Hydraulically piloted controls, such as those found on Genie telehandlers, can help to ensure smooth operation at maximum lift heights.
Other features also make it easier to properly position loads at higher lift heights. “Floating shaft-mounted forks allow some additional freedom to reduce load bearing when disengaging/engaging loads,” Rabe points out. “Powered carriages (side tilt, side swing), combined with modulating hydraulic control, provide operators additional control capabilities to position loads accurately and allow improved fork disengagement from the load.”
If Lifting Personnel is Required
OSHA guidelines state that a telehandler should only be used to lift personnel if no other means is available. “Additionally, the telehandler manufacturer may not allow the use of a work platform on their machine,” Webber comments.
If the manufacturer does permit the telehandler to be equipped with a work platform, he adds, then the employer, operator and platform occupants should refer to the operating instructions provided by the work platform manufacturer, telehandler manufacturer, governing U.S. telehandler standard and any applicable jobsite, local or state rules or regulations. ANSI/ITSDF B56.6-2011 Safety Standard for Rough Terrain Fork Trucks, section 5.15, provides specific instructions for the operator and the platform occupants regarding the use of a work platform on a telehandler. Additional operator requirements can be found in the operator’s manual(s).
“Operators elevating personnel must be properly trained compliant to OSHA regulation 1910.178,” Rabe adds.
Personnel in a telehandler platform are also required to wear appropriate personal fall protection at all times.
Approved work platforms will have been tested by the manufacturer to assess whether they can be safely used within the applicable load charts for the machine. Some telehandler manufacturers take this a step further by stipulating the specific platform that can be used.
“Manitou only allows elevating personnel if the applicable machine is fitted with the exclusive Personnel Work Platform System specifically designed compliant to ANSI/ITSDF B56.6-2011 Safety Standard for Rough Terrain Fork Trucks,” Rabe indicates. “This unique system is specially designed to eliminate or reduce some hazards created when work platforms are used non-compliantly.” A Premium Radio Remote Boom option controls boom hoist/lower and extend/retract and engine off/start/run from the platform.