CPCS A17 Telescopic Handler Course

1. Introduction

Blue category candidates are experienced in operating telescopic handlers and simply require the technical and practical knowledge to work through the CAP (Competent Achievement Portfolio) in preparation for their test.

This CPCS A17 Telescopic Handler Course is for two categories: Red (Expiry Avoidance) – Experienced Worker Test Candidates and Blue (Intermediate) – Provisional and NPORS Candidates. This course is run as a full novice programme for red card candidates or as a conversion test for those that already hold a recognised qualification. The CPCS Test Day is not included within the course fee; we offer a comprehensive program and guidance to enable candidates to achieve this certification though.

This course has been designed to provide both operators and their supervising managers with sufficient knowledge for them to be able to manage the safe lifting operations of a Telescopic Handler. It will enable the delegates to undertake various lifting operations and lifting equipment activities and will give them an understanding of the requirements of current best safe working practice.

1.1. Course Overview

The most experienced operators will also gain a wider knowledge of the machinery, industry safety standards and regulations, and also a better understanding of their role and responsibilities that come with their job. The course would also be suitable for people in the role of supervision or management of operators and plant equipment.

This course is aimed at people who have either received no formal instruction or those who require refresher training. Novice, semi-experienced, and experienced operators are all welcome, as are people with just a basic understanding of telescopic handlers. The course has been designed to give the basic operator a full understanding of their position and responsibilities in relation to plant equipment. Although the main content of the course is aimed at the basic operator, there are details that every operator can take away and learn from.

The CPCS A17 Telescopic Handler course will provide you with the information and understanding on how to safely operate a telescopic handler, including both the 360 Slew and Rough Terrain Variable Reach options. Using a mix of theory and practical training, the course is designed to enable operators to manoeuvre, drive, and position the machine in a safe and confident manner.

1.2. Importance of Telescopic Handler Training

Raising the standards of safety in the workplace, this CPCS telescopic course is aimed at operators of telescopic handlers who have no formal training and those requiring refresher training or evidence of training. This course is for you if you want to get trained to the nationally recognised CPCS standards and gain your CPCS Red Trained Operator Card. With a good mix of theory and practical, candidates will gain a rounded knowledge of telescopic handler operations. This course can also include the category endorsements A17C (Industrial Masted) and A17D (Rough Terrain) if required. With an excellent pass rate the course is intensive and candidates will need to apply themselves to both home study and revision throughout the course. CPCS A17A Wheeled loader handlers, A17B Compacting A17D and A17E Forklift feature. Whether a novice or experienced operator, those successfully completing the CPCS telescopic handler course have the knowledge and practical skills to operate their telescopic handler safely and effectively and prove this through gaining their CPCS Red Trained Operator Card. For those with experience, the course provides a reinforcement of their daily safety, maintenance and operational checks and also an understanding of any pertinent legislative changes. Participants are provided with a comprehensive and valuable skill set, backed by the only nationally recognised photographic ID card for plant operators. With Red Cards increasing in demand, operators are likely to find that their proof of competence in the form of a Red Card is required as the minimum skill requirement by many contractors and construction companies. This card qualification is also a sound investment in your ongoing career in plant operations, as the 5-year card is upgradeable to a Blue Competent Operator Card and is renewable upon expiry.

1.3. Course Objectives

Explain the reasons for training, i.e. legal requirements (Lifting Operations Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)), to avoid accidents and ill health to operators of telescopic handlers and others who may be affected by their use through adequate training. Describe the different types and attachments and their uses, e.g. industrial masted machines, machines with compact stabilizers, high boom/agricultural machines, and loader bucket machines. Identify the basic construction and components, and the purpose and use of all controls and gauges, e.g. engine and transmission, hydraulic systems, drive and steer controls. Describe hazards associated with various terrains and site conditions, e.g. rough or undulating ground, waterlogged or boggy ground, sites with inadequate access or restricted operating areas. Identify dangers involved in lifting personnel and the measures that should be in place to prevent such lifts (i.e. use of dedicated man-riding platform and fully integrated controls) and other high-risk lifting work. Describe safe shut down and securing procedures for plant in the short and long term, e.g. parking on inclines, preparing the machine for maintenance. This should include preparation of the correct documentation, e.g. defect reporting. Explain the importance of understanding the information provided by the manufacturer of the lifting equipment and where this information can be found. This is with specific reference to the rated capacity/load chart and associated restrictions and limitations.

2. Telescopic Handler Basics

Definition and types of telescopic handlers Telescopic handlers are machines that are used predominantly in agriculture and industrial settings. They are also known as teleporters, telehandlers, boom lifts, or reach forklifts. These machines have a very diverse job role and come in many different shapes and sizes, with several attachments to enable them to perform many different tasks. Generally speaking, all telescopic handlers have the same common features and basic design. They have a cab connected to a chassis that has a single boom and an attachment located at the end of the boom. They are very versatile machines and are able to accomplish many different tasks. This includes tasks such as materials handling, digging (with the correct attachment), elevating work platform, personnel lifting, raising and lowering loads to and from high areas, and many more. As a result of the diverse job roles, telescopic handlers are the machine of choice in many workplaces. This, coupled with the fact that they are able to complete so many different tasks, means they need to be used on a variety of surfaces and terrains. This has resulted in several types of telescopic handlers being developed for specific job roles discussed in further detail below.

2.1. Definition and Types of Telescopic Handlers

A telescopic handler is a highly versatile machine primarily designed to operate with several attachments. The most common of these is forks and it is used to move a variety of loads safely and efficiently around a site. The telescopic handler has become an invaluable item of plant on most construction sites, offering 360 degree continuous rotation, lift heights of up to 20.0m, and lift capacities of up to 4000kg. Although the most common attachment for the machine is the forks, it is also capable of operating many other attachments such as a bucket, muck grab, lift jib, and personnel platform. It’s this great variety in the type of work that can be undertaken using a telescopic handler which makes it so popular. There are a number of different types of telescopic handler available, each one designed for a specific type of work. These include: Rigid chassis telehandler – this is the most common and the most practical machine. Offering good lift capacities, height, and a strong build to withstand harsh environments. This machine is most likely to be used with forks, but can also operate a variety of other attachments. High reach – This machine usually has a boom rather than the usual single telescopic arm and is designed to work at very high lifts. It is primarily used in demolition and for the placing of structural steel. Due to the high reach capability, it often has legs to ensure machine stability. Low-end machines – This includes machines with a limited lift height and/or capacity, e.g. the mini load all, and machines designed for agriculture use. These machines will only be used for small-scale construction work. By understanding the type of machine to be used, the operator is able to select the course that is most relevant to the work he/she will be doing.

2.2. Components and Controls of a Telescopic Handler

The chassis on the TH is a rugged and durable frame equipped with four-wheel drive, and it can be two or four-wheel steer. The most modern telehandlers now have a three-select steering feature, enabling crab steer mode, making it easier for material handling in tight spaces. In front of the chassis is fitted a boom, which is the heart of the machine. The boom is a hinged arm that is able to extend out and up to become a useful tool to lift or move objects in a vertical plane. At the rear of the machine is often fitted a counterweight that allows the machine to lift the heaviest of loads. The boom on a telescopic handler can be one of two designs. The most common and popular design is the two-section mechanical extend with a single section of telescopic tubing. This boom design has the best of both worlds, as it provides a versatile machine that can extend out with high load capacities. A boom of this design will need the machine to be stationary when extending the boom. This type of boom should not be confused with a two-section hydraulic boom, which is often found on hire fleet machines and used in the agricultural sector. A hydraulic boom has two sections that are cylinder operated, the main advantage of this boom design being the cost efficiency in comparison to the mechanical design. Length is defined by the length of the two sections extended at their maximum. At max length, the hydraulic boom has a tough time lifting heavy loads but excels in lift and carry with lighter materials up to its max extension.

2.3. Safety Precautions and PPE

This is the most important part of the course; people who operate telescopic handlers have a heavy responsibility in terms of safety for other employees, site visitors, and other contractors. Telescopic handler operators are considered to be the professionals at risk and as such have more stringent safety precautions applied to them than any other group of plant operators. Before anyone is allowed to operate a telescopic handler, they must be trained to an approved standard. Although there is no specific card for telescopic handler operators, the preferred card is the red CPCS trained operator card. This shows that the operator has achieved a level of operational ability well above the novice marker. It is paramount that the operator knows how to correctly put the machine in and out of service. This may seem to be an unlikely source of danger. However, the most common cause of injury involving this type of machine is when the boom is displaced while the machine is turned off, causing the machine to become unbalanced. The operator must also perform a visual check to ensure the absence of any leaks, which may result in a hydraulic failure while operating the machine.

3. Operating a Telescopic Handler

An understanding of the characteristics and capabilities of a telescopic handler is essential for safe operation and to maximize utilization. Telescopic handlers are a very popular item of plant used on the majority of work sites. They have many uses and have become an integral part of modern-day construction. While the Pre-Operation Inspection and Maintenance part of the course discussed the checks required before starting the day’s operations, this module will further extend that aspect by detailing the necessary checks required before using the machine on site and the checks needed to be done at the completion of work. The daily checks are equally as important as the pre-start checks discussed previously because they are integral to the identification of problems that may have occurred throughout the day’s use of the machine. By identifying and repairing faults early, it will ensure downtime is minimized and the machine is kept in optimum condition. Problems which are left unattended can cause major damage to the machine and result in costly repair. Telehandlers are likely to be used for many different tasks throughout the day. It is highly inefficient to have a need for the same machine in opposite ends of a site and continuously towing it. In light of this knowledge, it is important to first consider which machine will be the most effective in getting the job done. Small machines are highly mobile and versatile while larger, more agricultural-based machines are generally more productive in loading and re-handling type tasks. Step one is to get the size and type of the machine right for the task at hand.

3.1. Pre-Operation Inspection and Maintenance

Pre-operation inspections should be completed every shift. The maintenance procedures can be done less frequently. Always read and understand the operator’s manual before maintenance and know the rated lift capacity and the load handling capacity of the machine. Make sure the fuel cap is closed securely and the fuel lines, exhaust, and muffler system are well maintained. The battery should be disconnected when working on electrical systems and the transmission should be in neutral. Next, adjust the operator’s seat for all-around visibility and posture, fasten the seat belt, and adjust the mirrors. The parking brake should be engaged and the tires filled to the correct pressure. The inspection of the machine should follow with an overall visual inspection checking for any damage, loose or missing parts. Now start the engine and let it warm up, check that all the gauges and warning devices are working properly, and make sure to release the parking brake and test the foot and inching pedal to see that they are functioning correctly. Also, test all steering and implement controls to ensure they are functioning properly. After completing these steps, turn off the engine and place the transmission in neutral. The final steps include lowering the stabilizers, turning off the fuel and the master battery disconnect, relieving any pressure in the hydraulic system, and locking the machine in a safe, secure area. Always relieve all pressure in the implement and hydraulic system before performing any maintenance.

3.2. Safe Operating Procedures

The first part of the section is about hazard recognition, which is a build-up from the previous chapter. A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm. There are 3 main types of hazards that we could encounter. A risk is the likelihood of a hazard causing harm and the severity of that harm. This is the formula for risk: Risk = Severity x Likelihood. To identify the severity of an incident, there is a range of different legislation. In terms of plant and agricultural machinery, the most relevant to us is PUWER. The easiest way to find where we are likely to encounter hazards is to look for anything out of the ordinary, e.g. foreign objects in the way, inadequate lighting, and anything that might obstruct the machinery. Each side of the telehandler and the cab function as a work area, so each should be considered individually for potential hazards. You may move onto a site that has already had its tasks and hazards assessed. This is covered by HASAWA, which states that if you are an employer, you have to carry out a risk assessment for the health and safety of those affected by the work. An EU member state has the right to refuse entry to a site by an employer who has not conducted a valid risk assessment. HSWA sets out the requirements for risk assessment, and EU member states are committed to enforcing this. HSWA also states that the operator should show due diligence in the event of any accident or incident. This suggests that it is ideal if we also add to and submit the existing risk assessment for the job.

3.3. Load Handling and Stacking Techniques

Be aware of the danger of the telescopic handler overbalancing when lifting or placing a load. Make sure that the area around the machine is clear of personnel and obstructions. Look out for any ground hazards such as ditches, bumps or culverts. Avoid these or if this is not possible, cross them at an angle. A sloping side-tip of the telescopic handler can be particularly dangerous, so make sure that you are always traveling on level ground. If it is essential to operate on a slope, always travel or carry out lift or place the load up and down the slope, never across it. If carrying out lift and place, always drive the machine as near to the actual placement position as possible before lifting the load. A full cab is far safer and more protective than a canopy, but if a canopy machine is being used, the operator must carry out a dynamic risk assessment of the rollover protection provided by the machine, both in relation to the size of load being carried and the ground conditions. Always keep the load as low as possible, consistent with the type of travel and where relevant, the surface or gradient to prevent the machine from becoming unstable. If the load to be handled is a pallet, the pallet forks should be directly under the pallet when lifting. Ensure that the full length of the fork is inserted into the pallet, and if the load is flexible or likely to topple, use a fork-mounted lifting jib or similar attachment to secure it. Always travel with the load as low as possible and tilt the forks back slightly to improve stability. When stacking loads, the height and nature of the load and its weight will dictate whether a straight telescopic handler or one with a lift frame should be used. Always carry out the lift or place in a smooth, steady manner to reduce shock loading on the machine, and recovery of the load is required. Always return a telescopic handler with a lift frame to its transport position after use. When placing loads on a scaffold or similar structures, bear in mind the load-carrying capacity of the structure and establish whether the ground next to the scaffold will support the machine. This may require additional transverse stabilizers and/or spreader plates.

3.4. Maneuvering and Operating in Different Environments

Using your operator’s manual or being familiar with the various decals on the machine can best prepare you for working in a range of challenging environments. Check the recommended tyre pressure and ensure that your tyres are suitable for the conditions that you will be working in. If you are working on an incline, be sure to pick the right tyre for the job. Often, a more aggressive tread pattern is required and for extreme conditions, tracks may be the best option. When travelling with a load lifted, it should be tilted back with the forks or attachment just above the ground. This ensures the load is more secure and blocks vision of the forks. Thus, the load must be transported only over very short distances. When transporting a load, it is important to remember the machine’s capabilities in relation to the gradient of the ground being travelled on and the type of surface. A loaded machine has less lifting capacity and stability on a slope, so it is safer to place the load at the highest point first and remove it at the lowest point. When travelling over very rough terrain, it is often best to put the boom in the hold to aid stability and reduce the chance of damage to the boom or machine. Always avoid travelling near excavations, ditches, and other sudden changes in ground level and be sure to avoid any ground that may be unstable or unsuitable to support the weight of the machine and load. If you are ever in doubt as to the safety of the ground conditions, seek advice from a competent person and if necessary arrange for the ground to be made safe, i.e. by adding hardcore to a wet or boggy area. Limit the amount of time that you need to spend working at height in adverse conditions. Although a telescopic handler is the most versatile machine for work at height, often it is better to use an aerial work platform or make alterations to the work procedure to avoid having to work at height.

4. Telescopic Handler Certification

A CPCS telescopic handler card is awarded to an individual who has successfully completed the CPCS training course. The red trained operator card is valid for a period of two years, during which time the operator is expected to work towards and obtain their NVQ qualification. Once the NVQ has been achieved, the operator can then apply for the blue competence card. The NVQ assessment is a process for individuals to demonstrate their competency in their job role. The assessment matches individual workers’ skills to the knowledge and understanding needed to do a job effectively. Candidates will build a portfolio of evidence while being observed by a qualified assessor, after which they will undergo a final validation process which will provide them with the opportunity to prove their competence on the telescopic handler. Experienced workers can carry out the Technical Tests route to obtain the CPCS card. The experienced worker will arrange the Technical Test through a CPCS accredited test centre. This will consist of a practical test and a verbal theory test carried out in their preferred language. If successful, the applicant is one step closer to the red trained operator card, but they will have to pass the CITB health safety and environment test before they can obtain the card.

4.1. Certification Requirements

The cost of a telescopic handler (all sizes, excluding 360 slew) course is £650.00 + VAT and this is inclusive of CPCS registration and a copy of the CPCS logbook. On successful completion of the technical tests, the plant operator will be issued a red CPCS trained operator card. This trained operator card is valid for two years. Before the trained operator card expires, the cardholder will need to achieve the competent operator card. The duration between the trained operator card and the competent operator card can be as long or as short as the operator feels necessary. This is because an operator who is inexperienced at operating plant machinery may not feel it appropriate to take the technical tests straight away. To achieve the competent operator card, the plant operator will need to take a NVQ in plant operations. This consists of the operator being observed operating plant machinery on site, and compiling a portfolio of his work. The cost of the NVQ can vary, and funding is available. More information on NVQs and funding can be found on the Construction Skills website. Once the NVQ is completed, the operator must then pass the telescopic handler plant category. This will involve a theory test and a practical test. The practical test has fixed costs which will be invoiced to the employer. For information on the current costs, please visit the Construction Skills website.

4.2. Written and Practical Examinations

On the successful completion of the theory training (technical knowledge training), each candidate will undertake 2 separate examinations set by Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS), which is facilitated by NOCN (National Open College Network). One examination will test the candidate’s knowledge of plant operating, and the other will test their core skills knowledge. The plant operation examination is a theory-based multiple choice paper with each theory question having 4 possible answers. Each candidate is required to select the correct answer. The core skills examination consists of a theory-based multiple choice paper but also includes a practical assessment in which the candidate will be required to practically demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Both theory-based papers consist of 60 questions that are to be answered within 1 hour 30 minutes and marked by NOCN. The practical part of the core skills examination is marked by the candidate’s assessor. Any candidate who requires help with their reading or has any form of dyslexia should inform their trainer prior to sitting the examinations so that the adequate arrangements can be made.

4.3. Renewal and Recertification Process

A CPCS trained operator card may be upgraded to a competent operator card status at any time following the achievement of the NVQ or SVQ in Plant Operations at the appropriate level for the category code shown on the trained operator card.

1. The CPCS theory test (45 minutes) 2. The CPCS practical test (30 minutes)

The CPCS renewal test is based on the CPCS technical test of competence and the related selected knowledge question banks for the specific category code. These question banks can be found in the CPCS renewal test factsheet available from the CPCS website. The CPCS renewal test is delivered in two separate modules:

A CPCS qualification is valid for a period of two years. To maintain a valid CPCS qualification, it is necessary to complete the CPCS renewal test for the specific category code prior to the expiry of the CPCS red trained operator card.