What is a Telehandler and how to choose the right one for your job

The Telehandler: One Tool for All Jobs

Picking the right tool for a project can often be a difficult decision, and in many cases, it seems impossible to settle on just one. This can often be caused by uncertainty regarding the potential applications of various choices. However, safety concerns also play a large part in deciding what to use. In the case of heavy machinery, it is important to not only use vehicles that carry a good track record, but to also have operators that have the appropriate training and are aware of the best safety practices.

As an example, let’s picture this scenario: you need to move multiple heavy loads off of and onto a truck that is situated on rocky terrain. A forklift will not be adequate for the job, as it cannot perform the horizontal movement required of it, and it does not make sense financially to use a crane. What tool would be the right fit for such a job? You would need something that fulfills the roles of both a forklift and a crane, while also allowing a trained operator to do the task safely. In this situation you might want to look into a telehandler, also known as a telescopic handler.

The Telehandler: One Tool for All Jobs

 

What is a telehandler?

A telehandler is a vehicle that hosts an extendable boom, allowing it to lift loads weighing as much as 70,000 pounds, and extending as much as 150 feet, depending on the model being used. The boom can also usually reach as much as a 70-degree angle from the ground. The telehandler in its current form was first created in 1977, and was an amalgamation of a backhoe, crane and forklift. Originally it was used in two-wheel drive, but with the vehicle’s quick rise in popularity, a four-wheel version was soon released. Telehandlers were predominantly used for agricultural purposes, such as moving hay bales. Nowadays, telehandlers are also used on construction and mining worksites, and are appreciated for their multifunctionality.

Telehandlers are the swiss army knife of the heavy machinery world, as they offer a large amount of utility during any season of the year. Whereas something like a forklift can only perform a single type of job, a telehandler can be outfitted to complete a wide range of tasks. Many of these tasks are determined by any of the various attachments that can be equipped to the machine.

Some of these attachments include:

  • Buckets
  • Carriages
  • Forks
  • Hoppers
  • Jibs
  • Plows
  • Work platforms

The most common attachments tend to be the pallet fork and the bucket. The pallet fork is used because it is quite common for a telehandler to be used instead of a forklift, when moving loads to places that a typical forklift would be unable to reach. Similarly, a telehandler equipped with a bucket is meant to accomplish a difficult task that a loader would normally perform.

Based on the attachment, a telehandler can perform actions like:

  • Moving earth or debris in order to clear a space
  • Hoisting workers to perform repairs
  • Lifting heavy loads that are too high for a forklift
  • Plowing snow
  • Loading salt gritters

Telehandlers are also excellent for use in areas with uneven ground, as this can be difficult to deal with when using a crane. A telehandler would be handy to have in the situation with the truck surrounded by rocky terrain, mentioned earlier! The type of telehandler you choose, should be decided by the type of job it needs to do.

 

What types of telehandlers are there?

telehandler types

There are two main categories of telehandler, each with variations that perform well in different aspects.

They are:

Non-rotating

  • Standard Fixed Boom – agriculture and construction
    • Average reach and carrying capacity

Rotating (Roto Telehandler)

  • Standard Rotational – focus on construction
    • Great reach
  • Heavy Lift – focus on mining
    • Great carrying capacity

Telehandlers consume diesel, and are typically controlled using one of three steering options.

These are:

  • Crab – around hills and walls
  • Four-wheel – for tight/difficult areas
  • Front-wheel – for roads

Although originally pioneered by the company JCB, which is well known for their iconic telehandlers, there are several brands of telehandler that are well respected.

These include brands such as:

Telehandlers are often referred to as “Lulls”, based on a declining variation that came into being in 1959. Lull telehandlers were eventually acquired by JLG, but have been discontinued as of 2015.

 

What else should I be aware of?

While there are many reasons to use this machine, telehandlers do have a few nuances that you should be aware of. Firstly, the maximum load that a telehandler can safely manage is largely determined by the extension of the boom. Heavier loads are safest at smaller extensions, and lighter loads are best at longer extensions. The type of attachment being used and the wind speed in the surrounding area can also both affect how far the boom should be extended. There are some telehandlers that come equipped with stabilizers that can be used when the machine is not moving, and most vehicles will have sensors and a computer that can inform an operator of danger. However, it is of utmost importance that anyone operating this machine has the appropriate telehandler training.

 

Are telehandlers safe?

As with any piece of heavy machinery, safety is largely determined by people’s knowledge and actions around the machine. Telehandler training is imperative to becoming a responsible and effective operator, so that everyone remains safe, and precious time and resources are not wasted. In the case of telehandlers, there are several precautions that trained operators should take.

Operators should:

  • Completely understand what the machine is capable of by looking at manuals, understanding signage, and analyzing the controls
  • Reference the appropriate regulations for the location
  • Always inspect the machine before operation begins, so that machines that are not working properly are not used
  • Be aware of all potential hazards on a worksite, such as weather, etc.
  • Adjust mirrors to help in being aware of other nearby workers
  • Pay close attention to carrying capacity, by referencing the specific vehicle’s load chart
  • Wear a seatbelt, and never jump from a tilting machine

Due to the nature of the telehandler, tilting can become an issue if the proper load to extension ratio is not adhered to. Operators should also be aware of inclines at all times and ensure that anyone on a work platform attachment is properly secured. An operator should never attempt to drive a telehandler while the boom is raised. By ensuring that the boom is lowered, the centre of gravity of the vehicle will also be lowered, allowing for more stability. If there ever comes a point where moving the telehandler becomes difficult without raising the boom, then the use of a telehandler for that specific job should be completely re-evaluated. It is also important to note that travelling with a load that is suspended should be avoided. There are many incidents that occur due to this. Any instance that requires a telehandler to travel with a load in suspension must be carefully planned and documented in a “lift plan”. The appropriate procedures to follow when operating a telehandler can easily be learned in an online course.

 

Looking for a telehandler course?

When working with potentially dangerous machinery it is important to have the right training. Any operator should learn to maintain full control of their equipment while complying with the regulations and laws governing its operation. With training, an operator will understand the legislated responsibilities and learn how to identify the components of the equipment and their functions.  The operator will also know how to travel with, and handle loads safely. It can be difficult finding good telehandler training online, but this telescopic handler operation course should do the trick. This telescopic handler training will provide you with a telehandler certification, that will demonstrate that you have the knowledge to safely operate one of these powerful machines!

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Contact

SOS First Aid and Safety Training services the following Southern Ontario communities: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Guelph, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Acton, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ancaster, Brantford, Stoney Creek, St. Catherines, and Welland.

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It’s been an awesome training course delivered by Karen! The class was interactive and fun while she also shares some her amazing experiences. Thnx SOS and Karen!
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I had finished my training with Prakash.He is very knowledgeable person.He has cleared all my concepts about CPR and first aid.He is a great instructor.He really has done an amazing job in teaching this 2 day first aid and CPR course .Thanks.
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Jaspreet Kaur
Prakash is a great instructor! Knowledgable, passionate, engaging, and he made the class fun. He also discussed a lot of different scenarios that were challenging and made me think, and that caused me to really dig into what I learned online to provide the best answer. His teaching reminded me what the priority/most important thing in each scenario was, and that you have to assess each situation with careful consideration. Thank you, Prakash! I feel confident that I'll be able to help someone in any situation, minor or emergency. 😊
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This is the First Aid course to be on board with.Ally led today’s instruction! What an amazing instructor who uses her teaching to cater to various learning styles and effectively gets the training done. So appreciative. Very grateful. Thank you!
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Cristina Montefalcon
Navreet was amazing! She explained everything in good detail and made the first Aid and CPR training a breeze!
Logic Is a Race
Logic Is a Race
Ally was awesome!!!
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alex ibazeta
My two instructors today at 10 Kingsbridge Garden Circle reawaken the extreme importance of not just getting certified as a Firstaider but ensuring we left more confident and knowledgeable to help as needed. #nolongerabystander
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GABRIELLE SAMUEL
This was an amazing course with some excellent teachers. Both Ally and Lydia were so incredibly patient and caring and incredible at giving well thought out answers. Long day but it was so nice to have such nice people teaching you. The test at the end was short but intensive aswell. So pay attention!
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Anne marie P
It was great…Thanks Mr Dennis 🤗
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ODUNAYO ADESEWA
Great session with Dennis
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Sonia A
Training with Daniel was very interactive and fun. I learnt alot.
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Kristina Smith
Karen Guevarra
Karen Guevarra
Melvyn was awesome!!! Very entertaining, very informative, and had the ability to keep it all very simple to remember.
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Adam Ahmed
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Maysaa Mueen
Mario is an excellent instructor.
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Veronica Inaibagha
I am happy being lucky to have this course with a great instructor Patty Turnbull. She is very knowledgeable and efficient, her accent is very clear , she is talented to educate in a way to keep us attentive without feeling board although it is a long day. Thank you Patty. Thank you SOS
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Louris Girgues
Patty was a great instructor, very easy to follow and just as easy to talk to about any questions to clarify.
Avocado Ception
Avocado Ception
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Benson Amihere
Prakash was our trainer who made this training fun and dispensed a lot of information with examples. Prakash converted complex information into easy digestible information without overwhelming us. There was not a single dull moment in the entire training and Prakash covered every aspect of first-aid/CPR in timely manner. He's passionate, well organized, very engaging and humorous. Thank you, Prakash.
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Kulwant Singh
Peggy was excellent.
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Tristan Wiggins
Training is good and more hands on with real life examples.
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Viralkumar Rathod
Peggy was an excellent instructor for the First Aid and CPR training. Her knowledge and teaching style made the course informative and engaging.
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Zee Shan
I completed my BLS and standard first aid training with Julie, and it was an amazing experience. Julie's professionalism, knowledge, and helpfulness created a safe and enjoyable learning environment. Her contagious laughter made the entire experience even more enjoyable. It was a pleasure having her as my instructor.
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Soleil Smith
Patty Turnbull was a wonderful teacher and took time to help us, and go through the material thank you Patty!
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Omar Khan
Patty was amazing
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David Kerrigan
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Had a wonderful great session on First aid with Patty Turnbull. The class was very insightful and blended with great sense of humour to keep the audience active and attentive. Absolutely loved the experience.
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Surya Ram
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Charlin Osei
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Jesse Dwyer
Has a great training session. Our instructor Patty was great at explaining the material, what to look out for and how best to help the person. She equipped us well in providing CPR and using AED.Thank you for a great session!!
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Smit Chotai
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Amr Abdalla
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Asima Sultana
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Mayou Stoddart
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Dania
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Prabh Gill
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Enqi Huang
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Kamani Sirisena
Session was delivered professionally.
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M Y
Thank you Prakash for an awesome class. I didnt think I wouldnt learn so much more from the class today, my class was able to get lots of misconceptions clarified. You challenged us with critical scenarios and made us think. From my past experience , I think first aid class would be boring but for the first time at the SOS first aid centre, I’m very happy with the instructor. Highly recommend!
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Natalie Le
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Jake Ilyas Qureshi
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i did bls and first aid training here with patty. she was such a good teacher/instructor. she was very helpful, funny, and engaging she gives a lot of stories which help us remember important details. it was a really fun and informative class. i wish the best for mrs patty!!!
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khadija gaouzi
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Solomon Cusi
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Shakali Martin
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It was an amazing experience! Prakash Nagar is having great knowledge with First Aid & CPR. He clarified clearly when to administer CPR, AED which was a bit confusing for me when I did the reading online.
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Vineeta Lekhram
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Naomi McDonald
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Jacob Waddell (jcwaddell)
It was good and entertaining as well.☺️
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Nisha 120991
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Raman Kamboj
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Sadaf Raza
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Sasha M
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Katey Hamilton
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Catherine G. Dela Cruz
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Beonca Luk
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h w
h w
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Ray Arnold
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Keerthana Neethirasa
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dema alnakeeb
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Ranya Salih
It was a great experience
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Jemimah Robin
Mario was awesome! Detailed, quick, and friendly instructor.
Julian Salvador
Julian Salvador
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Nida Javaid
Mario was a pleasant teacher that was patient and humorous.
A_Stumble
A_Stumble
Mario was very knowledgeable, humorous and efficient with the process. Highly recommend him for anyone!
S T
S T
Miranda Ko
Miranda Ko
Instructor Ally, was absolutely phenomenal. The classroom environment was excellent, and Ally made sure everyone understood what was being taught. Thank you for your teachings
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Ashley Amaral
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Omobolanle Adebayo-Oyeyipo
Amazing instructor, made the day seamless and interesting with great examples and information. Thank you Ally Sommer
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Suzie Catarino
Very nice and interacting session with Prakash, I really dont know about Israel been the only country using the Red Crystal symbol, but today I know.
segun joseph
segun joseph
I was really pleased with learning about the the priority in the impalement and CPR. It was something I didn’t know before and I feel that’s extremely important. Also the instructor was fantastic.
James Proulx
James Proulx
i didn’t know that peeing on a jellyfish sting was actually the right thing to do
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Niall Harris
Absolutely loved both instructorsDr.Prakash and Patty Turnbull.Both instructors showed their passion and dedication through their lectures and teaching. Everyone participated and had fun while learning. I would recommend them both.
Tisha s
Tisha s
The Instructors were very thorough with the course. Really learned a lot.
Ehsan Ahmad
Ehsan Ahmad
Vanessa Tran
Vanessa Tran
Very good information and very helpful
david luu
david luu
Patty was engaging, good at explaining things and open to feedback
amber elley
amber elley
Patty was a great instructor. Pace of the course and hands on instruction were very good.
Jim Koitsopoulos
Jim Koitsopoulos
This is an awesome experience different mask fitting I had before.
PVM PVM
PVM PVM
Alyssa Viozzi
Alyssa Viozzi
Great session!
Latifa Latifa
Latifa Latifa
The teacher was friendly and taught me well, teaching me things from misconceptions about First Aid to vital practices.
Maxwell Thornton
Maxwell Thornton
Really fun and I learned a lot. It was very interactive.Something I would have preferred, as we are learning the ABC’s is give us time to make sure we are doing it properly before asking us to do it quickly. I felt a lot of pressure trying to do it quickly that I was missing proper steps.
Jennifer Lam
Jennifer Lam
I had a great experience. My instructor (Prakash) made sure that we understood all the concepts and we did a lot of hands-on training as well. This session cleared up a lot of confusions in my mind, and left me feeling more confident about how to respond in an emergency.
Mehroo Siddiqui
Mehroo Siddiqui
Debbie was an excellent instructor! She taught the course in a systematic way and made it easy to get through.
Hitesh Sharma Burgus
Hitesh Sharma Burgus
Ajay Ramoutar
Ajay Ramoutar
I have been using SOS First aid and Safety Training for my first aid qualifications. This year, I renewed my BLS. Patty and the team have been professional and knowledgeable, with an emphasis on practical application. I refer all coworkers to SOS and would recommend anyone looking for first aid to come here.
Daniel Tyrrell
Daniel Tyrrell
sharnjeet sandhu
sharnjeet sandhu
Things I learned that I didn't know before- You can get anaphylaxis from a bee sting.- How to apply slings (because previously I got certification during covid there was social distancing, and we only watched on a video).- A lot of things that you see on television may be false or misconceptions. For example, amputated limbs do not go inside ice but it has to be wrapped up in a gauze. It is labeled and then put inside an ice bag.
Teresa Mai
Teresa Mai

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