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Anyone operating a forklift must receive the proper training and certification of that training must be kept on file so that it can be produced in the event of a workplace accident, according to regulations enforced by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
But what happens after that?
That’s the question being asked by RTITB, a workplace transport accrediting body based in the UK.
Follow-Up Training Essential
After forklift basic training, operators and supervisors sometimes forget what they have learned or become complacent. That’s when the risk of accidents rises.
To prevent this from occurring, the group is recommending that companies supplement basic forklift training and certification with periodic refresher training. it’s the best way to ensure that drivers constantly have safety on their minds, according to Nick Welch, the group’s senior technical development executive.
“it’s not just about driving carefully,” Welch told Builders’ Merchants News. “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-around environmental awareness and guarding against the unexpected, not to mention how the machinery is maintained and checked.”
Refresher courses can take as little as one day, but they can pack a lot of essential information into the training so that forklift operators are kept up to date on all the latest safety protocols and procedures. The Health and Safety Executive — the UK’s counterpart to OSHA — recommends that refresher training be provided at a minimum of once every three to five years.
Basic forklift safety training that all new operators take usually lasts about five days, said Welch.
But it’s not enough to simply train and retrain your employees in order to ensure workplace safety. You also have to provide constant supervision, direction and correction.
“All forms of training should be supported by effective management and supervision in the workplace,” Welch said. “When not properly overseen by employees, supervisor or managers, standards can slip.”
Even the most gung-ho operator can leave basic forklift training with the intention of always operating his vehicle with the utmost care and security. But after a few years on the job, daily routines can become dull and training can be forgotten.
Workplace accidents involving forklifts happen more frequently at the end of the workday, when drivers are hurrying to finish their tasks for the day, or when there is a lot of pressure from upper management to work faster.
Even if operators are following all the rules, there is still the chance that equipment can fail if it is not checked properly and frequently.
Refresher training reviews standard safety protocols and teaches operators to take appropriate precautions when driving their vehicles to ensure that all machinery is checked thoroughly before every use.
“Businesses will not only increase safety in the workplace, but save money in the long run, too,” Welch said. “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.”