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Are You Overspending and Risking Compliance With the Wrong Forklift Training?

News | 15th Jan 2019

Many employers are overspending on unnecessary forklift operator training – are you one of them?

At last year’s Talent in Logistics Conference, RTITB Managing Director, Laura Nelson, highlighted the extent of the problem relating to employers needlessly investing in the wrong training and how they can avoid this and keep their costs low.

Laura stated “There are a lot of myths about what materials handling training is legally required. We see businesses that lack understanding of the relevant regulations failing to deliver a compliant level of training, and on the other hand see companies ‘over-training’ staff or delivering the wrong training entirely. In all these scenarios, companies are not investing their time and money wisely.”

During RTITB’s presentation, attendees were invited to take part in an interactive quiz, which tested their knowledge. The findings of this quiz showed that the most common misunderstanding amongst logistics and training managers led to them under or overspending on training.

One of the ‘myths’ that was discussed is the belief that refresher training is required every three years. Although the Health and Safety Executive guidelines state refresher training should take place every three to five years, it’s important that employers review this as in some instances it may be needed more frequently.

Rather than blindly following guidelines in a bid to be compliant, employers should assess when refresher training would be the most appropriate for their operators. For example, if you have an operator who has been on long-term sick leave, or your operations have had a considerable environment change, these are situations where refresher training would be advisable outside of the three to five year rule.

Another misconception highlighted through the discussion was that when new equipment is introduced to operators, Basic training must be repeated, but this is not the case. It would be more advantageous for trained operators to receive conversion training, which is cheaper and quicker for employers, whilst still ensuring competence. For example, RTITB reach truck operator training for a novice requires 32.5 hours of training. This same course at a conversion level for an operator who already holds a counterbalance qualification requires only 13 hours. Conversion training can not only cover operating different types of truck, but can also cover trucks with significantly different capacities. It’s vital that employers understand that the time to train is as important as the cost of the training itself.

Many managers are unaware what to do in the event a training certificate is lost and therefore may choose to enrol the operator to retain as a novice to obtain a certificate for their training record. However, an on-site instructor, or Lift Truck Assessor, could assess the driver and decided on the appropriate level of training required, if at all.

One major area of concern which was highlighted related to businesses taking shortcuts around pre-use checks, not realising they are jeopardising legal compliance and safety. Some employers – and operators – believe that pre-use checks aren’t necessary because they use the lift truck engineering or maintenance departments to look after their trucks, but this is not the case. It is the responsibility of the operator to ensure the truck is safe before use, and maintenance departments are only used to rectify any faults. Skipping a thorough and correct pre-use check could result in a hefty fine for employers, so it is vital that operators check vehicles daily and report any faults or defects as soon as they are discovered.

For more information on how you can keep your operations safe and compliant with the correct forklift training, read more on materials handling equipment training here, or to find a training provider located near you for operator training, visit our free online course locator.