Whilst there are no legal requirements to complete forklift truck refresher training it makes sense to provide regular training and ensure that drivers are competent and fit to drive. The HSE provide guidance in their Approved Code of Conduct (ACOP) L117 where it confirms that no set intervals exist although even experienced drivers need to be reassessed to confirm they remain competent to drive.
So how often should you retrain your forklift drivers? The answer really depends on what you as a business owner decide is appropriate to control the risks you have in your operation. If your staff are mainly young workers or the environment is a high volume operation then every year would be reasonable. More experienced drivers or areas that are not as busy could maybe extend training to every two years. If you are not sure debate why every year is too soon or why every two years is to long. In your discussions you will identify reasons why you have reached your decision. This can then be documented and held for confirmation - technically it could even be called a risk assessment.
Whatever timescale is agreed upon it should be a regularly scheduled activity as important as moving the stock itself and not something to fit in as an extra. Whilst you could not complete any training at all, you run the risk of HSE action if an accident took place, not to mention a personal civil claim from any injured party.
There are certain circumstances when refresher training is required, for example when a driver has not used a truck for a while or following an accident or near miss. In these situations it is advised not to follow a standard refresher training programme as they should receive training to cover areas of weakness identified.
The health of your forklift truck drivers also needs to be considered on a regular basis to ensure they remain fit to drive. This can be achieved by sending out a regular medical questionnaire which they complete and return. Obviously any issues need to be dealt with promptly and it will show that you are monitoring your operations and looking to keep staff safe.
A more cost-effective way of providing refresher training could be by online or e-learning. Whilst this will never replace proper hands on training, it has a useful place in refresher training as you are only looking to remind staff of certain information and not provide a full training session. As well as possibly being more cost effective, it will demonstrate you have provided at least some training which you can evidence if you need to.
So, in summary, deciding how often to provide forklift refresher training need not be a difficult one, but it is an area you need to consider.
Nigel J Welford is a qualified Health & Safety professional and believes in making health and safety as simple as possible whilst still being effective and meeting all the regulations. For his free report "The Secret To How Health & Safety Can Improve Your Business And Profits: 7 Everyday Pitfalls To Avoid" from http://bit.ly/TI68sD
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