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A telescopic forklift is a type of machine used to lift pallets or other objects to heights using a telescopic arm. It looks like a forklift but has a boom that makes it more similar to a crane. A single telescopic or articulating boom can extend forward and upwards from the vehicle, meaning that the machine is very versatile.

A Brief History of Telescopic Forklifts

The telescopic forklift, also known as a telehandler forklift, was created in 1977 combining a forklift, crane, and backhoe all in one. Businesses from a variety of industries were interested in the telehandler and its uses have evolved over the years.

How Telescopic Forklifts Work?

Its telescopic arm is usually operated by hydraulic systems and can reach heights that cannot be reached with smaller vertical forklifts.

The forklift tends to be larger than most other forklift models and often uses pneumatic tires instead of the solid rubber tires common on smaller forklifts. These machines are commonly used on construction sites to lift pallets of materials to the upper floors of buildings, or in larger warehouses equipped with exceptionally tall racks.

Haulotte 6543 A telescopic forklift

Without a telescopic handler forklift, a crane would be needed to lift materials to heights greater than those achieved by a conventional forklift. In a sense, telescopic handlers are a type of crane, although, unlike cranes, the telehandler cannot move its arm in many directions.

The telescopic handler can usually only move up and down, as well as forward and backward, thanks to the telescopic movement of the boom. The size of the forklift will determine the height at which it can operate, as well as the weight of the loads it can carry.

What are the Attachments for a Telescopic Forklift?

While a telescopic forklift can be equipped with several different attachments, the forklift attachment is the most common one used on the machine.

This allows the driver to unload pallets of materials from a truck or other surface and load that material onto a roof or other high surface. The telescopic arm allows the telescopic forklift to work in situations that a normal forklift cannot handle, making it a popular choice for agricultural or industrial purposes.

The telescopic function can also be a disadvantage, however, the more the load is spread out, the less stable the vehicle becomes.

To counteract this problem, many telehandler forklift models are equipped with outriggers that extend from the front of the vehicle. This adds some stability, but stabilizers don’t completely solve the problem.

The vehicle may be equipped with sensors that will cut power to the telescopic boom or other telescopic forklift features if the load makes the vehicle unstable.

Haulotte HTL7732 TIER IV FINAL telescopic forklift

Forklift drivers will typically be equipped with a chart that will allow them to calculate whether a load can be safely lifted to a given height, possibly avoiding a dangerous mishap or accident that could cause vehicle damage or potentially result in human injury.

Telescopic Forklifts at a Glance

  1. The chassis is driven by four wheels and rigidly suspended.
  2. Hydraulic mechanical transmission, hydraulic power steering, hydraulic braking, rear-wheel steering.
  3. The working device is a two-section quadrilateral telescopic working arm. The standard model is equipped with a fork or boom device.
  4. Telescopic forklifts can be used for palletizing, fork-packing, or lifting operations of containerized palletized materials.
  5. Telescopic forklifts are suitable for working in a variety of work environments. It is ideal equipment for loading, unloading, lifting, and transportation in industries such as mining, enterprises, construction, building materials, ports, municipal engineering, and others.
  6. They are also equipped with various accessories such as buckets, hooks, and arms for users to choose and install.
  7. The loading and unloading height and off-road performance of this model are not comparable with normal forklifts.

Telescopic Forklift Operator Certification: What to Know

OSHA certification is required for all telehandler operators in the United States. An individual must pass an exam provided by an OSHA-certified trainer to obtain telescopic forklift certification. After that, this person earns an OSHA forklift certification that is valid for three years.

It guarantees that forklift operators are ready to recognize and resolve forklift safety concerns, as well as contribute to a productive and efficient workplace.


Before using the telescopic forklift, examine it thoroughly. Failure to do so could result in costly OSHA fines – or, even worse, an accident. When operating the telescopic forklift, keep weight in mind. The vehicle may tilt if the load is too heavy.

Telescopic forklifts can go up to 20 miles per hour. However, just because you can rush through your warehouse or job site does not mean you should. Always consider the terrain as well as the weight of your payload while making driving decisions. When traveling at high speeds, never start, stop, or change directions. When driving uphill, make careful to keep moving forward.

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