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A telehandler is a large machine that should not be operated by anyone who does not hold the relevant training and licence.

Telescopic handlers are most often used in construction and agriculture. They are a lot like a forklift and are used to lift and move heavy loads.

While the forklift has a simple fork attachment, a telescopic handler is a more versatile piece of equipment featuring a telescopic boom that can be extended backwards and forwards.

Telehandlers can also be fitted with a wide range of different attachments and are more stable on uneven ground, making them ideal for use outside.

They are large pieces of equipment used to move heavy loads, so there are several risks involved when using one.

As a result, telehandlers must be only ever operated by trained individuals according to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).

To operate a telehandler on a construction site or for agricultural purposes, you are required to hold a certificate from a recognised scheme that demonstrates you are competent at doing so.

The most popular accredited telescopic handler training courses are the NPORS telescopic handler training and the CPCS telescopic handler training, both of which we offer here at SB Skills.

However, if you are going to be operating the telehandler on the road, then you will require a relevant driving licence.

In this article, we find out a little more about the type of licence required to operate a telescopic handler.

What licence is required for a telescopic handler?

Telescopic handlers are not often used on the roads; instead, they are more often transported from one site to the other by a truck.

However, occasionally it may be easier, faster, and more cost-effective to swap a telescopic handler between locations by simply driving it along the road if it does not need to go far.

While you don’t need a driving licence to operate a telescopic handler on-site, you do need one for use on the roads.

Moving a telehandler along the road is very different to driving a smaller, faster vehicle, so it’s important the person at the controls knows how to do so safely, to minimise the risk of an accident occurring.

Before a telehandler can be operated on the road it must be fully registered, licenced for use, and have a relevant tax disc.

If the telehandler is being used in agriculture, then it will need to be registered as an agricultural vehicle. If it is being used in the construction industry, then it must be registered as a commercial vehicle.

According to information from the Highways Safety Hub, the telescopic handler must be registered in accordance with the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act and be displaying a number plate.

Generally, the type of licence required to operate a telehandler on the road is a full and valid category B (car) driving licence.

It’s important to note you that will also need to be in possession of the relevant insurance for using a telescopic handler on the road. This should cover you, the telescopic handler itself, and other road users.

If you’re not sure about the type of licence you require, you can find more information on the DVLA’s website, or by contacting the DVLA online.

Telescopic handler licence requirements

The requirements for operating a telescopic handler on the road are different to those on a construction site.

A driving licence is not required to operate a telescopic handler while on-site. However, if you are using one on the road, then you will need a full and valid driving licence.

There are also age restrictions applicable depending on the weight of the telescopic handler.

Individuals aged 17-years-old are only permitted to drive vehicles up to the weight of 3.5 tonnes on the road.

The minimum age for driving vehicles that weigh 3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes is 18.

Vehicles that weigh over 7.5 tonnes can only be driven by those aged 21 years old and over.

How to get a telehandler licence

Because the type of driving licence required to operate a telescopic handler is a standard category B car driving licence, the route to getting one is the same as for learning to drive a car.

You must pass both a theory and practical driving test before you can apply for your full driving licence. Find out more about how to apply for one on the DVLA’s website here.

To qualify to operate a telescopic handler on-site, you do not require a driving licence.

Instead, you must complete an accredited telescopic handler training course to obtain certification of your competence in safely operating a telescopic handler.

Telescopic handler training covers both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Here at SB Skills, we offer NPORS telescopic handler training and CPCS telescopic handler training.

Both courses are nationally recognised and teach attendees everything they need to know to operate a telescopic handler safely and efficiently.

Driving a telescopic handler on the road

Once you have everything you need to legally drive a telehandler on public roads you should make sure that you know how to do so safely.

Here are our top six rules for safely using a telehandler on the road:

  • When driving a telescopic handler on the road it should never have a load attached
  • All lifting equipment should have been removed from the telescopic handler
  • Fork arms should be removed or folded back and secured
  • Telescopic handlers should be driven in compliance with the Highway Code
  • Telescopic handlers should be equipped with appropriate lighting for the road
  • If travelling at less than 25mph on an unrestricted dual carriageway, telescopic handlers should be fitted with a flashing beacon

For further help or advice with training, certification, or licences for operating and driving a telescopic handler, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team here at SB Skills Solutions by calling us on 01695 558 420 and we’ll be happy to help.

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