How to choose the right forklift training

Nick Welch -
Safety First
- 28 Jul 2016 ( #780 )
3 min read
Nick Welch
Nick Welch
Nick Welch is Senior Technical Development Executive for RTITB, the largest forklift training accrediting body in the UK and Ireland, recognised by the HSE, HSA and HSENI.
It can be difficult for employers to choose the right forklift training for their business. Not only are there a number of training providers to pick from, but there is also the option of selecting either 'in-house' or accredited training, and it isn't always clear what the difference is.

Accredited training refers to courses which are externally validated as meeting certain requirements in terms of content and legal compliance/obligations, and, importantly, giving irrefutable evidence to prove this in the event of an incident. These courses may take place on- or off-site.
In-house training may be delivered by the company itself or brought in from an external provider to provide an 'in-house only' certificate. While these courses may be delivered by a competent instructor, they are not guaranteed to help employers demonstrate a required level of compliance with workplace safety legislation or training standards.

For employers choosing forklift operator training, there are four main questions to consider:
1. Does the training meet legal requirements?
While in-house forklift training may be delivered by an experienced instructor who is registered with the appropriate industry bodies, this does not mean that the training delivered will be compliant with PUWER Regulation 9 (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998), which requires companies to provide 'adequate training'. Accreditation of a company, whether a training provider or the employer itself, ensures that the training is compliant with relevant legislation and Codes of Practice.

2. How will you ensure standards don't slip over time?
Companies may be delivering what appears to be a good level of in-house training. However, with accredited training, an annual audit takes place to prevent any bad habits and shortcuts that may otherwise creep in over time. These annual audits help to monitor compliance standards as well as identifying any areas for improvement, giving companies reassurance of the quality of the training.

3. Do you have the necessary audit trail if there is an incident?
In the unfortunate event of a workplace transport incident, in-house training may not offer the protection of a clear audit trail demonstrating that the company has done what is required by law. Accredited training offers a clear record of what was covered and the training duration and demonstrates that testing took place under the proper conditions. This means that should they have to, businesses and their employees can prove that high-quality training has been provided and that appropriate safety measures have been taken.

4. Will it improve safety and efficiency?
Compared to in-house training, accredited training is usually delivered over a longer period of time and includes more in-depth theory and practical lessons to equip operators with the skills they need. There is also a standardised and controlled testing process. This helps give employers the peace of mind that once trained, operators will be safer, more accurate and more efficient. Unfortunately, in-house courses may not cover all of the required topics for skilled and safe forklift operation and testing cannot be guaranteed to have been administered correctly or independently.

Selecting the right forklift, reach, rough-terrain or pallet truck training option can seem to be a complex process. However, it is vitally important for employers to consider all of the above questions when making their decision. While the right training can result in the safest workplace transport operation possible, choosing the wrong training option could carry big risks, compromising both compliance and safety within the business and leaving businesses open to fines when things go wrong.
Also Read:
Keep trouble at bay
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Keep trouble at bay Safety First - 4 Aug 2016 (#781) Peter Harvey offers some advice to prevent the loading bay from becoming a disaster area.
Is continual training necessary?
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Is continual training necessary? Safety First - 14 Jul 2016 (#778) Training is not a one-off activity, argues Tom Reddon.
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