20. February 2013 | Comments (1)
The first is hard to tell what exactly is going on, it concerns a Merlo telehandler which we understand has been rented on a self-drive basis to a contractor. He is lifting a vertical beam with we imagine an attached block, and using a web sling from the forks with a choker around the upright. It breaks all known best practice, in terms of slinging and use of a telehandler with suspended load.
The only good thing is that if the picture paints an accurate story the operator is keeping the load close to the ground and as such is unlikely to come to any harm.
In the second case however it appears that the JCB unit is being used to with a set of chains, the ring of which has been slipped over one fork, the other end is attached to a clamp for lifting boxes, in this case full of sand or other loose material
It looks like this is a repetitive job, involving the placing the boxes down into the foundation of a new building, where people are working. If so this will involve travelling on uneven ground with a swinging load, and a real chance that either the chain will come off - should the operator allow the forks to dip - or that the lifting ring will break due to the forces exerted by the squared edges of the fork on the ring, which is not designed to take such pressures.
If this were to happen while lowering the box into the foundation it is entirely possible that the load would drop onto a person below, with possibly fatal results. This job should have been planned and the correct handling equipment acquired. In addition the swinging load could cause the telehandler to overturn, possibly into the excavation and on top of people. This is without doubt a Death Wish.
In the UK, where we believe these were taken, the CPA and HSE have recently launched draft guidelines for lifting suspended loads with telehandlers, which tightens up existing recommendations, and yet here we have two examples of contractors not even paying lip service to existing guidelines. We fear that these two are not exceptional occurrences - more common practice.