According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), each year over 200 people in food and drink factories are struck by forklift trucks and other vehicles, frequently resulting in serious injuries*. Laura Nelson, managing director of the leading workplace transport training accrediting body, RTITB, highlights some of the safety issues in the food industry.
“Forklift training is particularly important in the food and drink sector, which requires a high level of health and safety, is fast moving and can feature specialist applications, such as cold store” explains Laura Nelson.
There is high pressure and demand required to achieve a fast turnover of spoilable goods. Operators work to tight deadlines and are required to maintain a high level of care to avoid damaging delicate food items.
This pressure can result in a higher risk of accidents, putting a huge importance on ensuring that food store operators have adequate forklift truck training. RTITB accredited forklift operator training can help to eliminate some of this risk by teaching operators to assess risks, operate equipment correctly, and communicate with supervisors and pedestrians. Skills and knowledge are learned and tested in practical and theory based training to ensure that the food industry receives high quality forklift operators in their warehouse and production areas.
Aside from a strict level of safety procedures, the food industry requires specialist knowledge of how to operate in cold stores and freezers. This requires Specific Job and Familiarisation Training on top of the Basic Training already received by the operators. A step quite often missed by employers when issuing authorisation to operate, this should be provided on premises by the operators’ employer.
Because of these specific issues, it is also very important that adequate supervision and supervisor training is provided within the food industry. RTITB accredited training providers can train supervisors and managers to ensure the proper overseeing of applications.
RTITB’s management training courses are designed to teach managers and supervisors an understanding of their statutory responsibilities with regards to lift truck operations. These courses also ensure that management adheres to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulation (PUWER, regulation 9b) and other associated legislation.
RTITB training is available through a network of training organisations across the UK and Ireland. As well as training accreditation for a range of industry sectors, including food and drink, there is a range of courses for operators, supervisors and managers.