Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Understanding Forklift Truck Training

As business owners you cannot allow anyone to use or operate fork lift trucks who have not received the appropriate basic training on how to use it safely. Some people assume that because they can drive a car that they automatically can use a fork lift truck. Not only is their safety at risk, but also those of people working nearby as over 60% of accidents happen to someone other than the driver.

Staff who are selected to be trained on using trucks should have the ability and maturity to do the job in a responsible way and should be over 18 years of age. Mental and physical fitness should also be considered as operating a truck all day can be exerting and full attention is required at all times.

There is no reason that existing staff cannot be used to train other staff provided they meet the required standards and have the competence to train others. It makes sense to have an in-house trainer available as it obviously keeps costs down but also can be used to provide ongoing monitoring.

Ideally staff should be trained at an external location so that they can concentrate on the training at hand. If this is not possible then the training should take place away from the normal work area and ideally outside of normal work hours so that there are no distractions from the day-to-day operation.

A typical training session would be part theory and part practical. Staff need to understand the principles of truck operation but also need real practical operation in a relatively safe environment. Three stages of training are usually given - basic, specific and familiarisation. Basic skills are covered first and cover the theory required to operate a truck safely whilst specific job training incorporates any specific rules within the location. Finally, familiarisation training is where the truck is actually used and the trainee can physically handle the truck and put the training into practice.

Training needs to follow a pre-agreed programme that ensures each stage is understood and practiced if possible before moving onto the next more difficult stage. The trainee should also be continually assessed so that any areas not understood can be covered again before moving on.

A vital part of the training process, and often overlooked, is ensuring training records are received and kept on file. Without this information you do not have any prove that the training took place and should be considered as important as normal car driving licenses.

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

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