A finger in the dike?

Wayne Chornohus -
Safety First
- 14 Apr 2005 ( #204 )
2 min read
The 'finger in the dike' is a metaphor for many elements of modern life and, perhaps appropriately so, the Dutch may have that proverbial finger in a new strategy of graduated operator certification.

I am told there is a new system in Holland where a less intensive system of certification is available for people who only occasionally use a forklift and are not engaged in more stability sensitive operations.

My first altruistic thought was no, a full course of instruction of eight to 40 hours should be a minimum for even the most casual operation. After all, the forklift still has dangerous capabilities at any time, right? Yes, it does, but don't many countries allow new automobile operators to have a graduated licensing system? Most have restrictions on new auto drivers to allow them time to build their proficiency and, in most cases, new drivers have to operate in the company of a more experienced person.

Why not have a similar system of certification that addresses the peculiar environment of the forklift? Perhaps a two to four hour course of basic instruction with restrictions on high lifting tasks for a fixed period of time, then another course of instruction to complete the formal process.

I can see one certificate for people operating sit-down forklifts with restrictions for lifting above four feet and weight and size limits matched to load and machine size. Another certificate for those operating stand-up forklifts and another for operators of walk-behind machines.

Wait. What am I saying? There are still many who think training is not necessary in any form.

True, but maybe an introductory program will get the skeptics on board? Sometimes if you lead a horse to water he will come up with the unique thought of possibly ... drinking.

Wayne Chornohus is a forklift consultant with Hunter Industries Ltd. He brings more than 20 years' experience in the forklift and training industries to the Forkliftaction.com community.
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WorkSafe celebrates innovative health & safety measures Safety First - 21 Apr 2005 (#205) Transport workers and employers are invited to submit entries for the WorkSafe Victoria Awards 2005. WorkSafe executive director John Merritt said the awards celebrated innovative health and safety measures that reduced risks in the workplace and had potential to benefit the whole community. "This year WorkSafe is particularly keen to receive entries in the categories of Health & Safety Representative of the Year, Health & Safety Committee of the Year and Small Business," he said.
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