With some Materials Handling Equipment (MHE) operators returning to the workplace following periods of shutdown, furlough or shielding, what training is required to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date and that they can help keep operations safe and compliant?
A common question we hear from forklift Managers and Supervisors is how often refresher training should be carried out. Should it be every few years? As and when operators ask? After an accident?
How often to deliver forklift and plant refresher training
The short answer is every three to five years, but there are important exceptions to this. For example, after a period of absence. This would apply now, at a time where operations are beginning to pick up and where operators may not have worked for some months. Though it would be very unlikely that an operator will have forgotten absolutely everything they knew before lockdown, carrying out refresher training for operators will enable you to go over any areas of concern, revisit best practice, and feel confident in the safety, efficiency and compliance of your operation going forward.
Another exception to the ‘three to five year’ rule would be for occasional users. This may be relevant at the moment where those who have completed training, but do not routinely use equipment, need to do so to fill gaps in resource. These employees should receive refresher training before they operate a lift truck or other materials handling equipment.
In brief, other exceptions include in the event of unsafe working practices being identified or an incident taking place, or any significant change in working practices or environment. If the type of machine the operator is required to use changes, then conversion training (rather than a refresher course) is likely to be needed.
Make time for refresher training!
You might be thinking that training is the last thing you have time for at the moment! Your workload may be busier, and you might still have less operators in the workplace than you’re used to. However, if an incident occurred this could result in injury (or worse) leaving you with even less operators available. Could you afford to take the risk of not delivering training?
For those operations where time is at a premium, RTITB Accredited trainers can deliver MHE refresher training options that can be completed easily online, with minimum disruption to your operations.
For instance, RTITB’s innovative digital storytelling tool, eTruck, offers a convenient alternative method for counterbalance lift truck operator’s to complete refresher training at a time that works best for them – it’s not just for Basic forklift operator training.
With eTruck, candidates learn by following a story that tackles real issues relating to safety. What’s more, it enables candidates to complete forklift theory training completely online, on a computer or tablet, in the workplace or at home. Those counterbalance forklift truck operators who complete eTruck training will be able to extend their RTITB registration by two years.
RTITB Accredited training providers and in-house training teams can also access a range of online knowledge top up courses for various equipment types, from MEWPs to Tow Tractors, VNA to Pallet and Stacker trucks, LLOPs and many more. These can help support safety until full refresher training can be delivered at a later date.
Find out more about our eLearning options for refresher training here, or for more advice on refresher training as your operators return to work, call our Solutions team on 01952 520236.