Forklift accidents are expensive. Not only can a business expect potentially large fines in the event of an Health and Safety Executive investigation, but there can be infrastructure and damage costs to consider, as well as costly disruption to the supply chain. And that’s not to mention the human cost.
Forklift accident prevention should of course be a daily consideration, but if the worst does happen, being able to prove that your lift truck training and your materials handling operations are compliant is essential.
If you’re a Health and Safety Manager, Lift Truck Instructor or Warehouse Manager looking to ensure compliance, where do you start?
As the leading accrediting body for forklift training, we see a lot of different lift truck operations! Not to mention those businesses we visit to conduct an RTITB Workplace Transport HealthCheck. Based on the experiences of our expert auditors, here are some of the most common issues surrounding forklift operations.
How does your operation measure up?
1. Inadequate risk assessments – generic risk assessments are usually plentiful on sites we visit, but they are often short of detail and fail to adequately cover the risks of the particular tasks a lift truck operator is required to perform. Task specific risk assessments need to be conducted, and documented.
2. Poor pedestrian / equipment segregation – we often see poor control measures in place where pedestrians and lift trucks may be working in close proximity. Such as a lack of walkways, badly designed or maintained barriers, poor lighting, no mirrors at blind spots or an absence of door protocols for pedestrians.
3. No understanding of dangers – pedestrians do not always appreciate the complexities of lift truck operations or understand the dangers. This is often due to a gap in training or inadequate leadership and supervision.
4. Lack of documentation – on some sites, we see only training certificates available which are not sufficient records of training. Records of basic forklift training are incomplete or unavailable for the lift truck operators on site or there may be a lack of documentation or formal evidence of specific and familiarisation training.
5. Breakdowns in the process – First the right processes are needed, then fork truck operators should be trained, and supervised, to stick to them. Some sites have no key control systems in place, or seatbelts are not routinely used. Forklift operators may not conduct pre-use inspections or may document them inadequately. Operations may also lack controls for visiting LGV drivers.
6. Problems with ongoing training – When it comes to training, some operations fail to ensure conversion training takes place for operators when they need to use significantly different trucks. In some operations, there are also no refresher or ongoing assessment regimes in place to ensure safe standards of lift truck operation.
7. Supervision issues – worst case: there is no supervision taking place at all! In other operations, the people conducting supervision are not adequately trained to do so or supervision is a formal observation only, with no incognito observations to ascertain ‘real’ lift truck operator behaviour. Some managers and supervisors also do not feel comfortable challenging poor operating practices.
8. Lack of correct management – Some organisations accept certificates of basic forklift training at face value and do not assess the competence of a newly employed operator before granting an authorisation to operate. This authorisation also should be documented in writing.
Do you recognise any of these issues from with your operation? If so – beware! You might not be compliant. So, what can be done to tackle these problems?
Improve lift truck operations through training
The good news is that lift truck training can play a big part in improving many of the most common lift truck operation problems. However, that training needs to be designed to help you comply with health and safety legislation, while also equipping your operators with the skills and behaviour to work safely and efficiently.
RTITB Accreditation can help with that. By becoming an accredited RTITB Partner, your in-house training team will have access to the highest quality forklift training materials. Our training tools and resources are designed to help you ensure that all your forklift operators are trained to the same standard at every site.
Reduce training costs, improve compliance
In terms of compliance, our RTITB accredited partners can also benefit from reduced compliance costs, as our training and testing materials are always up to date with the latest requirements.
In-house training teams can also use the MyRTITB TrainingFriend app to avoid compliance headaches. This unique solution makes forklift training assessment and administration paperless, saving you time and money while also ensuring compliant training documentation.
RTITB Lift Truck Accreditation
These are just a few of the ways that we can help you improve your lift truck training and operations through RTITB Accreditation.
Get in touch with our experts today to find out more.