Licensed to kill

Danny Maron -
Safety First
- 30 Apr 2009 ( #408 )
3 min read
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.
I'd like to start with an extract from an article in Truck News, a leading magazine servicing the trucking industry in Canada, and read by many individuals involved in trucking.

"Too Restrictive? Ontario (Canada's most populated province) introduced a 'restricted' Class A/Z license last June, to close loopholes that were allowing inexperienced drivers to obtain an A/Z license using small vehicles such as a pickup truck with a horse trailer (requires licensing to pull the trailer over a certain amount of feet long). The Ministry of Transportation was embarrassed into action when a Global TV news reporter obtained a Class A license without ever driving a tractor trailer." - James Menzies, March 2009 edition.

Hmmmm. Doesn't this sound familiar in our industry? One hears reports about forklift training companies and consultants issuing permits without reviewing the driving abilities of their students. Shame! Shame!

Canadian laws and forklift guidelines (and I'm sure this is mirrored in other countries) insist that a student operate a forklift for an instructor in order to prove that participant's competency.

As recently as this past weekend, some of my students told me of a training competitor who only offers theory and claims that students can be certified by day's end. Huh? The training company does not even know the person, yet they are already stating an automatic pass, without practical testing? Heck, some of these places do not even own a forklift. And several of my students attended our course to learn how to drive a forklift.

Shame! Shame! I can take a bunch of blind 75-year-old grandmothers and educate them well enough to pass the theory, but please don't then expect me to issue a permit without reviewing their credentials, or experience. Knowledge, training and experience are the three ingredients required in order to become a competent forklift operator, and if the trainer is not prepared to review their operation of the forklift before issuing a permit, I believe he should be shot. Students must learn the material, be tested on the theory, and then prove that they know how to work the forklift. Then, and only then, do they rightfully earn their permits.

So, after reading this article, it reminded me of all the idiocy that I have encountered in my training experiences out there. People have been 'licensed' without a driving session, and now, are licensed to kill. Who will be liable should something tragic occur? The company who owns the forklift and employs these people, or the trainer who demonstrated disdain for the law, and the people involved?

If you would like to train, do it by the book and do it properly. If you are not interested in doing it properly, do everybody a favour and take a hike. And do us all another favour, take the shortest route out of the business, and allow the professionals, who do conduct themselves properly and morally, to train the masses.
Also Read:
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PICA awards PR and marketing excellence Safety First - 7 May 2009 (#409) The Association of Equipment Manufacturers' (AEM) Publications in Construction and Agriculture (PICA) subgroup, has named Jane Cooper, of Cooper Hong Inc, in St Charles, Illinois, as its public relations person of the year.
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When dealer termination and bankruptcy collide Safety First - 23 Apr 2009 (#407) The series of articles by the attorneys at Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. continues with a look at bankruptcy in the current economic situation. By Jeremy I. Silberman and Gary N. Marks
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