Does your forklift operator training cover all 3 essential elements?

9th October 2017

In the last 18 months we've seen the real impact of proportional sentencing guidelines. With 24 fines over £1m issued since their introduction, it’s vital you make certain you’re working safely, and that includes providing adequate training for your forklift operators, as required by Law.

What the Law says...

Our industry’s Approved Code of Practice, L117 - which outlines standards to be met to ensure you comply with the law - highlights three types of operator training which must be satisfied by employers.

Basic training

Just like it says ‘on the tin’ this training imparts the foundation-level skills, knowledge and hazard awareness necessary to operate the type of lift truck and handling attachments (if any) that will be used.

While it’s possible for an in-house, qualified forklift instructor to deliver this training, many companies prefer to pass responsibility to experienced and accredited training providers, an option which often offers good value and makes certain that legal obligations are being met. 

The next two training stages can, and should, be delivered by the employer, on site. Importantly, these two elements should be delivered under close supervision by someone with appropriate knowledge.

Specific job training

Normally, this follows basic training and, like basic training, this should take place ‘off the job’ – away from production and other pressures.

It will be tailored to the employer’s needs and include, where appropriate,

  • the operating principles and controls of the lift truck to be used
  • routine inspection and servicing of that truck
  • use of the truck in conditions that the operator will meet at work
  • instruction on site rules
  • training in the work to be carried out
  • safe systems of work

This vital training element gives your operators a working knowledge and understanding of the equipment that they will use day-to-day and, importantly, how their truck should be used in the workplace.

Familiarisation training

This is carried out ‘on the job’ and under close supervision from an individual with appropriate skills. It allows operators to put into place what has been learnt… in normal conditions. This could include:

  • applying the skills learned in basic / specific training
  • becoming familiar with the lift truck activities of the employer
  • any other feature of the work which it is not practicable to teach ‘off the job’ e.g. site layout, local emergency procedures

Why go beyond ‘basic’?

Most companies recognise the importance of ‘basic’ operator training. But this alone doesn’t give your staff the tools, skills and knowledge necessary to work as safely and efficiently as possible, in their role, with their equipment, in their working environment.

Missing out on specific job and familiarisation training does more harm than just helping you fall foul of the Law. It means your business will lose out on the enhanced safety, productivity and profitability associated with properly trained operators, and instead you’ll be at higher risk of accidents, injuries and costly damage.

These two additional stages help ensure your lift truck operators fully recognise and appreciate the challenges and risks they’ll face every shift and understand how to work as safely and efficiently as possible.

To discuss how the three elements of training can be implemented on your site, drop us a line; we'll be happy to help.


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