What Qualifications Do I Need to Operate a Telehandler


11 February 2022


telehandler hire and telehandler training near me

In order to operate a telehandler, it is vital that you have completed the relevant training prior to getting started. When it comes to training programmes related to plant machinery in the UK, the telehandler courses are undoubtedly among the most popular, thanks to the versatility this equipment offers on-site. In terms of working out which courses you will need and which are the most universally approved it can be a bit of a minefield, so this article looks to set out and clarify the best courses available to become fully qualified for telehandler operation.

There are two main (best) options when it comes to getting qualified for driving a telehandler in the UK and these are the CPCS course and the NPORS course. The main distinctions between the two options are laid out below.

CPCS telehandler training

CPCS stands for Construction Plant Competence Scheme and is available as a card-certified scheme that demonstrates the holder has proven skills in plant operation. In order to qualify for this card delegates must demonstrate a mix of professional competence and health and safety awareness, two qualities that are fundamental for operating telehandlers. For quite some time CPCS has been the leading scheme for such courses and most UK-based employers will insist on their operators holding either a CPCS or NPORS card before operating plant machinery.

For telehandlers, specifically, the CPCS A17c Telehandler course is the relevant one. This instructs delegates to demonstrate competency in the safe and efficient operation of telehandlers on site, focusing on driving and parking, turning, lifting and the safe lowering and retrieval of loads.

NPORS telehandler training

NPORS stands for National Plant Operators Recognition Scheme, and the course offered by NPORS is the other main option for telehandler training. The NPORS as a body is considered one of the UK’s leading accreditation and registration entities.

In 2014 NPORS gained UKCG ‘accepted record scheme’ status, which essentially makes it the equivalent of CPCS in the eyes of the authorities. NPORS cards carry the same CSCS logo as CPCS gained cards. This makes both training qualifications easy to validate and identify. Some companies will prefer NPORS as it can offer a little more flexibility and a degree of cost-saving, while others prefer the CPCS, viewing it as superior, thanks to it’s longer history, although that view is rapidly changing.

Both NPORS and CPCS courses are now accepted as leading qualifications for telehandler operation.

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