5 records you must keep for forklift safety & compliance
6th July 2021
The last year has forced many businesses to change and adapt. Processes and priorities may have shifted but letting important records fall by the wayside could cost you dearly.
Well documented processes are vital for protecting your business and your workforce, and for keeping operations running smoothly. We take a closer look at some examples of the essential records that you need in place for safe, compliant operations...
1. Thorough Examinations
LOLER requires periodic thorough inspection of lifting equipment by a competent person. This must be carried out every 12 months (at least) if the equipment is used for lifting loads only, or every 6 months (at least) if it is:
- used for lifting persons
- a work platform attachment used with a forklift (at which point the truck to which the platform is attached would now become subject to 6 monthly checks as well)
- a lifting accessory
A truck must have valid paperwork detailing the Thorough Examinations it has received. Approved Code of Practice L117 states: “The competent person will issue a ‘report of thorough examination’ and this must be retained by the employer for at least two years.”
2. Safe Systems of Work
Safe Systems of Work (SSOW) provide defined sets of rules around specific aspects of an operation in order to minimise the risk of accidents. They are the measures implemented as a result of risk assessments carried out for individual tasks. Once the hazards have been identified, SSOW are created and implemented to reduce the risk for those involved, enabling them to carry out their duties safely.
Be sure to document your SSOW, distribute them to everyone who could be affected and ensure they understand, then make sure managers follow up their use and effectiveness.
3. Training records
L117 states that records should be kept for every employee who has completed any type/stage of forklift truck training, to demonstrate that they have been adequately trained, and to help indicate when additional instruction may be required.
Records should identify any training or testing carried out, i.e., by including their certificate or logging the relevant details. For an example of an employer’s training record, download L117 and take a look at Appendix 3.
As further support for those using external training companies, good providers also keep records of any courses they deliver, for several years. Likewise, member bodies of the Accrediting Bodies Association (ABA) keep records which can be used to verify that accredited training took place, should you need this confirmed.
4. Written authorisation to operate
Having proper forklift training records in place will also help with this next step – ensuring that operators are only allowed to begin using the trucks on site once they are safe and ready to do so.
When you are confident that all relevant training needs have been met (this should include all three levels, as specified by L117 - basic, job-specific and familiarisation), then you can issue authorisation to operate.
This is another process which should be documented in writing and records retained. Written authorisation should include the operator’s name, date of authorisation and the truck categories they can use (including any operational limitations). Until this is issued, operators should not use the relevant MHE and, where possible, this should be further controlled by limiting access to any keys/fobs/codes that power the trucks, to those on the ‘authorised’ list.
5. Pre-use checks
Operators should complete a pre-use check before using a forklift to ensure it is safe to use. To ensure that nothing is missed, operators should use a check sheet or system, which highlights the relevant criteria.
You must keep pre-use check records to demonstrate that regular checks have been carried out and to document that action has been taken should faults be found. Some pre-use check sheets even come with carbonated pages so that a copy of the records can be kept with the truck at all times.
Using a defective truck puts everyone in the vicinity at risk, so these are vital records to prove that important safety checks have been carried out. It is the operator's duty to complete the checks, but the manager’s responsibility to ensure they are done regularly and correctly, and to ensure there is a system in place for reporting defects (e.g. isolate, tag and report).
Record keeping is an important part of a manager’s role. To ensure those managing your operations understand their responsibilities and how to fulfil them, we’ve developed an accredited e-learning course that provides them with all the skills, knowledge and confidence they need. ‘Managing Forklift Operations’ offers guidance on training, record keeping, monitoring, authorisation, safe systems of work, policies, forklift maintenance and much, much more to ensure your managers can uphold safety and compliance within your business.