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10 ways to minimise lift truck training risk during the Covid-19 outbreak

Blogs | 9th Apr 2020

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve recently received lots of questions about whether to continue lift truck training and whether it’s possible to safely deliver material handling equipment (MHE) training.

Should you continue delivering lift truck training?

That’s a decision that only you can make once you’ve determined how safe you can keep those within your team. You should also bear government and HSE guidance in mind.

However, in the current climate, people who are working within the food, hygiene or health supply chain are considered ‘essential workers’. So, even though we’re in the midst of a pandemic, safety within these operations should never be compromised. This makes delivering operator training as important as ever, if not more so.

If you do decide to continue delivering MHE operator training, here are 10 ways to help minimise risk:

1. Before any training takes place, be sure to consider your instructors’ health. Do they suffer from any health issues that might mean they’re at high risk from coronavirus? If so, they should be at home in isolation. For more information on who’s most at risk, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ .

2. Keep an eye on your instructors and monitor them for any symptoms. It might only be a cough or sneeze to begin with, but things could quickly develop. During times of increased pressure, some people might be too proud to admit when they aren’t feeling quite right in fear of letting people down.

3. Practice social distancing in the workplace by ensuring that everyone stops shaking hands and keeps 2 metres from one another at all times. Visual tools, such as floor markings, can help you to ensure that this takes place.

4. If you’re delivering training on a customer premises, don’t be afraid to discuss exactly what safety measure they have in place. For example, are they testing employee temperatures? Are they sending anyone home who is showing symptoms? How are they keeping the premises clean? It might be suitable to continue training in some premises, but not in others. It’s up to you to make the decision as it will all depend on what is being done to ensure that your instructors are staying safe.

5. Carry out and record a risk assessment. Reassure your team that if at any point during training they suspect that any of the control measures identified in the risk assessment have not been implemented that they can cease the training without fear of any repercussions.

6. Don’t allow your instructors to travel to training on public transport. If possible, ask that candidates do not use public transport either.

7. Ensure that everyone washes their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds when they arrive at a premises, as well as at regular intervals throughout the day. Be sure to provide instructors and candidates with tissues, along with hand sanitiser and a bin, to help avoid the spread of germs in the training environment.

8. Keep your working environment clean – be sure to wipe down and sanitise any desks, chairs and other hard surfaces that are used every morning and during any break times too. Did you know that there are 3,543,000 bacteria on each square inch of the average keyboard? Don’t forget to clean them regularly!

9. If practical forklift training is taking place, be sure to sanitise all hand controls, hand holds, steering wheel, door handles and seat belt buckles etc. Do this at the beginning of the day and at regular intervals, as well as whenever a new person is going to use the truck. Here are tips from BITA (British Industrial Truck Association) on cleaning MHE and Plant during the Covid-19 outbreak.

10. Consider using a tool, such as eTruck, to minimise the amount of instructor contact time needed. eTruck UK is a completely unique digital storytelling tool that enables candidates to learn lift truck theory remotely online, even from their own homes. Not only does that ensure people can reduce social contact, but the tool has been shown to increase training effectiveness and can also reduce lift truck operator basic training time by as much as 2 days per course.

Let us help you

If you have any questions or would like further information on how eTruck could help you to minimise contact time during training at this time, visit www.rtitb.com/etruck-uk/ or email solutions@rtitb.com