Operating telehandlers and mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) requires specialized knowledge and precautions. In this blog post, we share five essential safety tips for construction professionals operating these machines. From proper training and certification to understanding load capacities and being aware of site conditions, these tips will help ensure safe and efficient operation of telehandlers and MEWPs on construction sites.
Operating telehandlers and Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) requires skill, caution, and adherence to strict safety protocols. These machines are commonly used in construction and other industries to lift personnel and materials to elevated areas. To ensure the safe operation of telehandlers and MEWPs, it is crucial to follow essential guidelines. In this blog post, we will delve into five indispensable tips for operating these machines safely and efficiently.
Know the Lifting Capacities of the Machine (and Never Exceed Them):
Understanding the lifting capacities of telehandlers and MEWPs is crucial for maintaining safe operations. Each machine is designed to handle specific weights at different reach heights. Before starting any lifting operation, review the machine’s specifications and load charts to determine the maximum allowable weight at various boom extensions and heights. It is vital to never exceed these limits, as overloading can lead to tipping or structural failure, posing a significant risk to operators, workers, and bystanders.
Do a Thorough Inspection Before Each Shift and Report Any Issues to Your Supervisor:
Performing a comprehensive pre-shift inspection is an essential part of safe machine operation. Inspect the telehandler or MEWP for any signs of damage, fluid leaks, loose or worn parts, or malfunctioning safety features. Check the tires, brakes, hydraulics, and all operational controls. If you identify any issues, report them immediately to your supervisor and note them on the inspection form. It is crucial to address and resolve these concerns before operating the machine to mitigate potential hazards.
Use Controlled Access Zones to Limit Foot, Equipment, and Vehicle Traffic in Your Work Area:
Creating controlled access zones around the telehandler or MEWP is an effective way to enhance safety. Establish physical barriers or warning signs to restrict foot traffic, equipment, and vehicles from entering the immediate work area. Communicate the presence and boundaries of these zones to all workers on the site. This precautionary measure helps reduce the risk of incidents caused by collisions or interference from unauthorized personnel or vehicles.
Only Trained and Authorized Personnel Should Operate Equipment:
Operating telehandlers and MEWPs should be restricted to trained and authorized personnel only. Proper training ensures that operators have a thorough understanding of equipment controls, safety procedures, and emergency protocols. By limiting machine operation to qualified individuals, you reduce the chances of incidents caused by inexperienced or untrained individuals attempting to operate the equipment.
Have 100% Situational Awareness; Do Not Use Phones or Other Devices While Operating Equipment:
Maintaining complete situational awareness is paramount during telehandler and MEWP operations. Always be alert and focused on your surroundings. Avoid distractions, such as using mobile phones or other electronic devices, as they can significantly impair your ability to react to changing conditions or potential hazards. Prioritize your attention on the task at hand, including the load, the ground conditions, overhead obstacles, and the movement of workers or vehicles in the vicinity.
Operating telehandlers and MEWPs demands precision, caution, and a strong commitment to safety. By following these five essential tips – knowing lifting capacities, conducting thorough inspections, implementing controlled access zones, restricting equipment operation to trained personnel, and maintaining situational awareness – operators can significantly reduce the risk of incidents and ensure a safe working environment. Remember, safety is paramount in every aspect of machine operation, protecting not only the operator but also the entire workforce. Let’s prioritize safety and foster a culture of responsible and safe equipment use in our workplaces.