What, me worry?

Wayne Chornohus -
Safety First
- 17 Feb 2005 ( #196 )
2 min read
A reader sent this comment: "A problem in Australia is the inconsistency of certification and training. There are some agencies where you can obtain a certificate in three hours. This is often achieved on a low capacity counter balance, but the worrying fact is that the certificate enables you to drive any vehicle (with the exception of stock pickers). We do have reputable trainers and assessors, however most training and testing involves only very basic operation of equipment. Very little time is spent educating drivers in environmental hazards they need to be mindful of. The basics of the correct way to interact with racking are often neglected and the basic principle of damage and hazard reporting is not promoted strongly enough.

Problems are increasing due to the fact that many employers are dependent on casual labour. This labour is used at peak times or when throughput levels are inconsistent. In some instances companies employ 40 per cent of their total labour as casuals. Labour hire companies are really only interested in placing labour and do not spend enough time evaluating the credentials of forklift drivers. Their view is simple, if you have a certificate you are qualified to drive any forklift."

The above situation is not unique to Australia. In conversation with trainers around the world it seems a common problem. In many countries, legislation requiring training is in place but there is no quality control for trainers. Anyone, regardless of their background, can issue a certificate.

In Canada, abuse of the system is horrific. A provincial technological college is certifying operators who demonstrate a complete lack of skill and "training" them on forklifts not manufactured for decades.

Most trainers cannot operate a forklift properly and are ignorant of their own shortcomings. No one is assessing trainers and, until we start doing that, we can't address the issue of "poor training".

Until regulatory agencies wake up and show some comprehension of the reality of the average workplace environment, the carnage will continue.

There seems to be a common thread. The people who care can't do anything and the people who can don't care.

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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