Remember to refresh your forklift drivers, says RTITB

Published:  03 November, 2014

Workplace transport training accrediting body RTITB is urging companies to ensure that their forklift drivers are up to date with refresher training.

Despite mandatory basic training, it is easy for forklift operators and managers to forget things or become inattentive and complacent after a while or when under added pressure. Refresher training is the perfect way to ensure that employees know how to safely operate their equipment, preventing accidents in the workplace as well as saving companies money on equipment maintenance.

“When operators become complacent, accidents sometimes happen and it’s not just safe driving that must come under scrutiny,” said Nick Welch, senior technical development executive for RTITB.

“It’s not just about driving carefully, it’s about segregation of vehicles and pedestrians; it’s about load safety both on the vehicle and on the racking; it’s about good all-round environmental awareness and guarding against the unexpected, not to mention how the machinery is maintained and checked.”

Refresher training courses usually take one day and Health and Safety Executive guidance suggests that employers should consider delivering refresher training every three to five years. This follows the initial training, which usually takes five days, depending on the equipment.

“All forms of training should be supported by effective management and supervision in the workplace,” added Mr Welch. “When not properly overseen by employees, supervisors or managers, standards can slip.”

An operator might start out with the best intentions and skills for example, but daily routine can dull the initial training, demand of the busy working day can increase pressure, and confidence over time can lead to complacency. At some point or other most employers will have seen habits develop, such as a truck being driven with a raised load or while simultaneously using the hydraulic controls.

However, even if the operators are following every rule in the book, machinery can also malfunction if not checked properly.

RTITB refresher training courses highlight these crucial factors and prompts operators to take appropriate cautions when driving forklift and pallet trucks and to ensure that all machinery is checked thoroughly before use.

Mr Welch proclaims the benefits of refresher courses: “Businesses will not only increase safety in the workplace, but save money in the long run too. By regularly refreshing your employees’ knowledge and awareness, you are ensuring that machinery runs properly, requires less maintenance and causes less damage to stock, racking and other trucks.”

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