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With the introduction of increased capacity vehicles, it is imperative both farm-managers and telehandler operators understand their legal responsibilities and requirements, advise leading independent insurance brokers, Farmers & Mercantile.
Operators can take a certificate of competency from the age of 16 and will be able to operate the telehandler on farm once achieved, but they will not be permitted to drive on roads even with a tractor licence. The operator will need to hold a full driving licence at age 17+ before they can drive the vehicle on the road, although further weight restrictions still apply.
Between the ages of 17-18, the operator will only be able to drive a telehandler of up to 3.5 tonnes on the road. From 18-21 telehandlers of up to 7.5 tonnes can be driven on road, and after the age of 21 telescopic handlers of over 7.5 tonnes can be operated on the road. This is assuming a full driving licence is held.
A telehandler is classed as a different category of farm vehicle to a tractor. While an operator can drive a combined weight tractor and trailer of up to 32 tonnes on the road at the age of 17 with a standard driving licence, this does not apply to telehandlers. And as the majority of new telehandlers will be over the 7.5 tonne weight restriction, it is vitally important to ensure operators are sufficiently covered before taking to the road.
The Farmers & Mercantile engineering division will not only advise on operator licences, but also provides PUWER and LOLER inspection services to ensure all lifting equipment complies with HSE regulations.