If you work with forklifts, then forklift training goes hand-in-hand with the job. Not only does it enable those who are new to forklifts to learn the right way of using them, it plays a vital role in helping prevent accidents from occurring.
Working with forklifts is an extremely risky business, which is widely documented. According to the British Safety Council, five lives are changed every working day due to forklift truck injuries. And if you delve a bit further, you’ll discover that around 1,300 people a year (and counting) are hospitalised with serious injuries, ranging from amputations to fractures, following forklift accidents.
This stat was published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who have also revealed many employers are increasingly taking a different approach to training their forklift operatives. Instead of using an accredited training provider, they’re allowing casual forklift training to take place.
What is casual forklift training?
This is when forklift operatives receive training from their fellow forklift operators, who may be extremely competent and experienced at handling forklifts, but it still doesn’t mean they have the credentials or are qualified enough to train others on operating forklift trucks.
The most obvious benefit of this option for employers is that it won’t cost them as much as if they were to get an external forklift trainer in. They also don’t need to spend the time looking for a trainer either.
However, there are some serious downsides to going down the casual forklift training route, we’ve listed some of them below:
The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice for Rider Operated lift truck guidance (L117) states that all forklift training should be delivered by a properly trained and qualified instructor.
If the training’s being delivered by forklift operatives, then chances are it won’t follow all of the necessary requirements, as set out by the HSE. In turn, this means, it wouldn’t be unusual for essential health and safety guidance to be misinterpreted or overlooked.
The forklift operators delivering the training may have learnt the ropes from their peers. This means that’s two or more generations of bad habits and shortcuts that are being passed down the line – the consequences of which, are extremely risky, to say the least. It’s only a matter of time before an accident takes place…
Casual forklift training can increase the likelihood of forklift-related accidents taking place, which is the main part of the equation. However, let’s not forget that accidents also invariably result in damaged forklifts and expensive downtime and repairs, all of which can easily be avoided.
Making sure forklift operators are taught how to use trucks correctly, in accordance with the latest industry guidance and regulations, is paramount to maintaining their safety and the safety of those around them – colleagues and pedestrians/passers-by included.
Forklift-related accidents can also carry significant implications for employers too. Last year, the HSE prosecuted a building materials manufacturer after one of its employees had four of their fingers sliced off while using a forklift to lift and swivel a large metal gate. The company, which reportedly pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £11,376.25.
Meanwhile, another company was prosecuted by the HSE after one of their forklift operators died when he was thrown from his forklift and crushed. The operator had reportedly received only 20 minutes of ‘in-house’ training and had no formal forklift accreditation. The employer was subsequently fined £24,500.
If you’re contemplating casual forklift training instead of employing the services of an expert forklift training provider, our advice to you would be not to do it. While it may save you time and money in the short-term, it could potentially cost you, and others, dearly in the long-run.
For more information about the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice on forklift truck training, visit https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg462.htm.
For details on how we can help you avoid the dangers associated with casual forklift training, check out our driver training sessions, which are suitable for beginners to experienced drivers and include refresher courses. You can reach us on 0113 393 2881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.