"Do I need to provide PPT training?" The law, the costs & the consequences

17th August 2017

No cab, no mast, just a simple tiller arm operation – to many, powered pallet truck operation may seem very straightforward, compared to a counterbalance or reach truck.

But despite first-impressions, their capacity to injure should not be underestimated…and nor should their training requirements, as one retail giant recently found out.

Last month, a leading supermarket chain was fined £1m after an accident involving a powered pallet truck fractured every toe on its operator’s foot, resulting in reconstructive surgery and the loss of two toes. What's more, it wasn't the first accident of this kind the company had seen.

The new starter was in his second week of employment at the time of the incident. A lengthy investigation revealed the company relied on new drivers picking up the skills necessary for the job by shadowing other drivers, before working alone, rather than undergoing formal training. In addition, the employer didn’t have a standardised training programme in place to ensure operators had the skills they needed to work safely.

As a result, the company was fined for not providing structured and necessary formal training.

Training key to reducing pallet truck risk

Cases like this demonstrate the real-world impact of the new proportional sentencing guidelines introduced last year… as well as the sheer power of electric pallet trucks.

At first glance, the incident may not seem extreme enough to warrant a seven-figure fine, but remember, by nature, the injuries resulting from an accident involving MHE are usually serious, often life-changing, for those involved. 

The weight and power that make these trucks true warehouse workhorses, mean they are easily capable of causing real damage to stock and property, as well to your operators and their colleagues on foot. In fact, in the UK workplace transport industry, PPTs are the cause of a vast proportion of lower limb injuries.

Each year, hundreds of workers suffer severe crush injuries to their feet and toes as a result of pallet truck accidents, the majority of which are preventable, so it’s vital that you and your staff understand your responsibilities and limit the risk wherever possible.

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding this subject – including a widespread misconception that those operating powered pallet trucks don’t require the same sort of formal training as those using counterbalance or reach trucks.

But they do, by law.

In fact, the basic principles and training requirements outlined in L117, our industry’s ACoP, extend to all pallet trucks, from simple manual pump trucks through to complex counterbalance stackers.

And regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) makes it very clear that an employer must provide adequate training for all persons using work equipment (including pallet trucks) – which covers how it’s used, the risks involved, and precautions to be taken.

So not only does pallet truck training protect your workforce, it meets your legal obligations, protecting you and your business from the risk of prosecution and crippling fines.

It’s clear that, now more than ever, the long-term practical, legal and financial benefits far outweigh the cost of basic training, so it’s worth implementing this sooner rather than later - then you can start reaping the rewards, rather than facing devastating costs should the worst happen.

Call us to discuss your training needs on 01246 555222 or contact us here.


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