Across the South West the majority of industrial parks have manufacturing plants and Retail warehouses which offer a high level of employment opportunity for anyone who would like to learn a new skill or build on existing experience.
Forklift drivers are crucial to the smooth running of any transport or distribution service as it is their job to load and unload wagons safely and timely.
There is also the option of joining the construction industry for instance; forklift operators play a key role in multiple fields of construction for both residential and commercial building.
To gain a forklift licence the candidate must complete a five day training programme where their driving is assessed on the following content.
- Forklift Truck Theory
- Introduction to truck and basic manoeuvres
- Manoeuvring exercise and hydraulic controls
- Transporting pallets and stacking and de stacking
- Battery maintenance and placing truck on and off charge
- Preparing for test and final practical test
On successful pass of the practical test they will receive an ITSSAR accredited certificate, which opens up a new world of opportunity!
Why Train Your Staff?
As an employer you need the evidence that your staff are operating safely and efficiently.
It has been stated that there are over 8,000 reported accidents involving the use of forklift trucks in the UK each year and some of these result in fatalities. The vast proportion of these were caused by
- Lack of training of the operator
- Poor knowledge about the equipment they were in charge of and their working environment
- Operator error
- Bad truck maintenance
- Insufficient lighting
- Inadequate gangways
- Poor condition of premise
Reports also show that pedestrians are at a greater risk of injury of a forklift accident than the operator
Even if drivers operate vehicles every day GH Translogistic Training would recommend regular refresher training to make sure that they:
- Maintain good driving skills
- Learn new skills where appropriate
- Reassess their abilities
Workers may need refresher training if:
- You change the vehicles they use
- They move sites
- You change the way they work; or they become disabled
GH Translogistic Training would recommend a gap of three years for experienced operatives but less if the risks have been regularly increased.
Important Legal Requirements
Employers and Operatives need to be aware of the following legislation
- The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- The Provision and Use of Workplace Equipment Regulations
- The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations
- The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations
- The Noise at Work Regulations
- The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations
- It is against the law for anybody below school leaving age to operate a forklift truck.
- If the trucks are driven at all on public highways, then the same legislation which applies to all road users with regards to the legal minimum age also applies.
Important Safety Issues
- Training records for each operator must be kept and updated regularly a refresher course is advised every three to five years and particularly when an operator’s job role has been modified or new equipment is introduced.
- At the end of each shift the operator must remove the keys of the forklift truck and put them in the designated place which is secure to prevent unauthorised use of the truck.
- There should be no obstructions where the forklift is being driven and the ground kept as flat as possible.
- Forklift routes should be free of sharp bends and be sufficiently wide enough with adequate clearance room overhead.
- A one way system and a pedestrian free zone are two examples of best practice to avoid collisions.
- Ensure adequate signage and warning notices are in place.
- Fork lift operatives should have seat belts/restraints and adequate PPE.
- Fork Lift Trucks should be fitted with flashing lights and audible warning devices if possible.
- Maintenance of the trucks and records should be updated regularly, with any accidents or near misses recorded.