Greatly needed, clear information and guidance (Approved Codes of Practice) were provided by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) on how employers and individuals alike could meet the minimum requirements of the day for standards of operator training, documentation, records keeping and certification.
In 1998 with the introduction of various new regulations, specifically, The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), the Approved Code of Practice was required to be revised. One year later, the ACoP L117 was produced. This revised Approved Code of Practice provided much more detail-specific information and advice on the selection and training of lift truck operators (including self-employed operators), instructor standards and maintaining the recognition of accrediting bodies.
These previous two documents were specifically aimed at operator training and all that encompasses the arrangements thereof. Advice on the actual operation and safe use of lift trucks was documented in a separate publication called Safety in Working with Lift Trucks (HSG6).
While most employers knew by this time that training had to be provided – and while they had a basic idea about course durations and the necessity for instructors to be qualified in order to provide training – it was plainly evident that employers were not aware of the existence of HSG6, let alone its content.
Again, with the passage of time and the further introduction and evolution of regulations such as the Work Place Transport Regulations/Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, and after an extensive period of work and consultation with accreditation bodies, trade associations and industry alike, the Approved Code of Practice L117 has been brought firmly into the 21st century.
The basic content on the regulation side of this publication has not changed, and, as such, remains the Code of Practice that came into effect on 1st October 1999. What has changed is that the guidance section of the old L117 has been revised, and HSG6 as a separate publication has been deleted, with its content being revised and included within L117, thus providing employers and individuals with clear and comprehensive regulation and guidance in one publication. It is, in effect, a one-stop-shop for those responsible for the use of lift trucks, lift truck operators, and lift truck operations.
The guidance section on the selection and training of operators has been simplified; however, the requirements for three stages of training – authorisation to operate, certification and document keeping – have essentially not changed.
Significant improvement and information has been provided in areas concerning the monitoring and assessment of lift truck operators, refresher and conversion training, agency workers, and visiting operators and drivers. In order to keep up to date with the increasing employment of migrant workers, improved information has been provided on their training and employment.
In conjunction with the introduction of L117, HSE has also produced a simple leaflet for employers, Lift Truck Training: Advice for Employers (INDG462). This leaflet provides information on who should be trained, who to consult, what training should include, authorisation, monitoring and assessment, refresher training, conversion training, keeping records, supervisor training and how to choose an instructor. Also available is a pocket card for operators, Use Lift Trucks Safely: Advice for operators (INDG457). Both of these documents are available as free downloads from www.hse.gov.uk.
As well as dealing with issues relating to legislation and training, L117 now also deals with the operation of lift trucks within the workplace and has revised and incorporated many elements of the old HSG6. Care has been taken not to duplicate information, thus the combined publication is now compact and user friendly. Essential elements of LOLER and PUWER are incorporated in a clear and concise manner, and especially important is information and advice on using lift trucks on the public highway and the hiring of lift trucks.
One final element worthy of note is that any information (excluding logos, and some images/illustrations) contained within the new L117 may be reused free of charge in any format or medium under the terms of the Open Government Licence (to view the licence, visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/).