Danny Maron, owner/trainer of Ideal Forklift Training in Canada's national capital, is an independent consultant, providing the education lift truck operators require, to businesses and government, to minimise the chance of incidents in the workplace. Before founding Ideal in 2000, Danny was a trainer at Canada's largest forklift dealer.
During these pandemic times, the provincial Ministry of Labour has had its field officers ensuring COVID-19 safety in the workplace. No fall arrest, no confined space, no WHIMS, no nothing. Only COVID-19.
Workplace safety took a back seat to the virus. There is more money to be made enforcing COVID precautions than there is in forklift safety/prevention.
Coronavirus is impacting on training and trainers. PHOTO: FDA
Training was occasional, especially in the urban areas, and refresher training, which is not required under law in Canada but is merely a guideline, was non-existent during the past 20 months. Only when an industrial workplace incident occurred did the Ministry take action. Why? Money.
Yes, people get sick and/or die from COVID-19, but people also die from incidents in the workplace. However, the government hasn't cared about preventing incidents; they only act once an incident takes place. Someone's brother, sister, father, mother, daughter or son gets injured or killed and the government does nothing in advance to prevent it from occurring.
I spoke to someone in the provincial ministry back in December, looking for guidance regarding COVID-19 and workplace safety, specifically for forklifts. He said there was nothing different due to the virus but when I asked him why so many businesses are procrastinating over training, he couldn't answer.
He said there are other ways and means of having people trained and itemised the following:
· In-house training (but when asked if they currently do not have an in-house trainer, how do they get a person into a Train-the-Trainer course when they will not allow a trainer to come to their facility to provide the training to their staff first-hand?)
· Online training - however online training is not the best way to train staff. How can an online training firm assess workers' abilities to operate forklifts properly and safely?
The government doesn't really care how anyone gets trained, as long as the business deems that operators are competent. Really? But should there be an incident, they will be gunning with both barrels a-blazin'.
Reactive, not proactive: We will wait until there is an incident and then we will pretend to care, and if you are found guilty, you shall pay a big, fat fine.
The crazy world of workplace safety. Where there is a dollar to be made, the government is out there enforcing the laws. In the meantime, workers are getting injured or even killed.
And with COVID cases tipped to reach thousands per day in Ontario, Canada's most populated province, I am sure that forklift safety training will return to the back burner and the field officers will be out in full force enforcing COVID workplace policies. That means further training procrastination.