“Remember to refresh your forklift drivers” says RTITB. As Christmas approaches, business gets busier and pressure mounts, meaning employees are working quicker and for longer hours, which can lead to mistakes.
Leading workplace transport training accrediting body, RTITB urges 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” says 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 HSE 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” adds Nick 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 whilst 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. Some 23% of dangerous incidents are caused by mechanical issues but it is easy for the operator to assume that the equipment is in order and miss important daily checks.
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.
Nick Welch proclaims the benefits of refresher courses explaining that “businesses will not only increase safety in the workplace but save money in the long run too. Simply 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.”
RTITB is the largest workplace transport training accrediting body in the UK and Ireland and is a founding member of the Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport. The organisation offers a range of courses including the all-important Refresher Training courses which should be supported by a robust programme of ongoing supervision and assessment, to ensure that employees are consistently meeting high standards of skill and safety awareness.