CPCS A77 Telehandler 360 Slew: One year into the new training category

If you’re a telehandler operator or follow us on Facebook, you might remember our updates informing industry about the changes CPCS were making to the 360 telehandler category in early 2018. In fact, we were the only company in the country who published the news, discussed the changes with CPCS and posted updates to keep you informed of the situation.

Over 22,000 people read our updates on the new 360 telehandler category in 2018!

One year on, we’ve decided to review this new category to determine whether this controversial decision at the time was a successful move from the UKs leading awarding body for construction plant qualifications.

Prior to the introduction of the new CPCS A77 Telehandler 360 Slew category, operators had to complete the A17d Telehandler (inc 360 slew) category to get qualified. CPCS stated the reason for the change as an increase in the use of 360 telehandlers for lifting with a drum hoist and rope.

Developments in rotational telehandlers over the past few years have been immense. After all, some machines now have a reach of 46+ metres with larger lifting capacities which means the risk of overturning and injury is higher. These risks are increased even further if the machine is being operated by someone without sufficient knowledge or training, and with a 27% rise in construction worker fatalities in 2018, it was important for CPCS to take action to reduce the risk of further fatalities. So, has this new category been successful?

BAM Construction Training recently released their 2018 CPCS Testing Report which includes the new CPCS A77 360 Telehandler Training category. Statistics showed a practical test pass rate of 94%, and a theory test pass rate of 79%. So what does that mean?

We spoke to Tony Mills– BAM Construction Training’s CPCS 360 Telehandler Tester – about his thoughts on this new category one-year-on. Tony has been working on-site since 1987 and was responsible for endorsing the first Merlo range of 360 telehandlers to a major house building company back in 2000. He was one of the first operators of a rotational telehandler (bobcat) in the country and has an impressive 29+ years-experience in construction plant training. Here’s what he had to say..

“The practical test for CPCS 360 Telehandler is very similar to the crane category for winch, which is sufficient enough for a basic understanding of the lifts. There is significant room for improvement with the theory test – some questions are repeated and many could be ‘optimised’ to reduce the number of questions. The mandatory questions are excellent because they provide operators with an understanding of certain scenarios – and I could even name a few testers in the industry who wouldn’t know the answer to these!”

So one-year-on, how does Tony think this new category can be improved?

“It’s not that difficult really” says Tony. “After optimising the theory test I think it’s important for CPCS to introduce subcategories, such as a man cage endorsement, as these machines are used by cladders and other construction professionals too. I also think that one-lift, the concrete pour, should be amended to use 3 services and more should be included with the winch, such as floating the load”.

“Finally, I believe that it’s essential for any trainer of this new category to have sufficient on-site experience so that he/she can provide additional scenario-based advice and guidance to new operators.”

Have you attempted the CPCS A77 Telehandler 360 Slew test? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.