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Telescopic Handler Myths and Facts – Heavy Plant Misconceptions


The telescopic handler is one of the most crucial and beneficial tools any construction site can make use of – their versatility is unsurpassed. However, there are still so many sites that haven’t yet caught on to just how indispensable they really are. Likewise, there are also those that underestimate the complexities of moving and operating telescopic handlers, which can lead to them being used either incorrectly or outright dangerously.

So with this in mind, here’s a look at a few quick examples of the most common misconceptions on the subject of both telescopic handlers and most examples of heavy plant machinery in general:

Myth: Driving a Telescopic Handler is Just like Driving a Car

This is how thousands of construction workers across the UK think about the telescopic handler despite having never tried one out. In reality though, the only thing a telescopic handler has in common with a car is the way in which it has four wheels and an engine. Other than this, it’s a completely different experience entirely as the telescopic handler is more of a moving tool than it is a mode of transport. The problem is that by making this kind of assumption, those just getting started are much more prone to operating heavy plant in an unsafe way. As such, the general rule of thumb is to assume it will be nothing like a car from the very word ‘go’ in order to be in a much better position.

Driving a car is a lot easier than one of these.

Myth: A Driving License is More Than Sufficient to Operate Heavy Plant

Technically speaking, there is nothing to say you cannot operate heavy plant machinery on a private building site or that you must undertake any specific training…that’s at least as far as the law is concerned. However, these days there is so much argument for getting appropriately qualified that to expect a driving license alone to be enough just won’t cut it. First and foremost, a driving license does not in any way mean a person is able to safely or appropriately pilot any kind of heavy plant. Again, what you are looking at is not a mode of transport, but a huge and massively complex tool of the trade. What’s more, it is getting more and more difficult for any worker or applicant to be taken seriously by a building firm unless they’ve either had the appropriate training or are willing to undertake it. It’s in the best interests of the site’s success and its health and safety records to only ever employ trained plant operators, which is starting to become the only accepted norm. However, there are hundreds of places all across the UK that offer full training on the telescopic handler and all other types of plant machinery, leading to official certification and huge scope for career advancement.

Myth: The Driver Is Responsible for Overall Health and Safety

Common sense would tell you that the driver of the telescopic handler is the one responsible for ensuring it is not involved in any accidents or incidents. This actually isn’t the case however as while the driver is indeed responsible to an extent, so too is each and every other person across the site. Pedestrians for example must only every remain in designated areas and on the appropriate paths in order to keep them out of harm’s way, every worker must wear high-visibility clothing and all supervisors should be keeping a round-the-clock watch on things like vehicle condition, the safety of the ground being worked on and the general behaviour of the whole workforce.

A driving license doesn’t automatically mean you can drive a telescopic handler.

Myth: It’s Always Better to Rent

Last up, it’s often taken for granted that there’s really no point in buying a telescopic handler when you can just as easily rent the latest models for a lower price. However, this only really rings true in the case of a one-off building project that’s never going to be repeated – established building firms on the other hand could save a fortune by buying outright. These days, to buy a telescopic handler for example from an established and reputable vendor is to invest in a total service package that goes above and beyond just the handler itself. You could gain access to a full range of services including maintenance and repairs, long-term consultancy with the benefit of the business at heart and so much more besides. As a rule of thumb, if you’re likely to use a Telehandler Hire Company (or something similar) more than a half-dozen times over the coming years, it’s likely that you’ll be better-off financially to buy outright.

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