Forklift trucks (FLTs) feature prominently in workplace accidents. Every year there are about 8000 lift truck accidents resulting in injury, and about 10 fatalities. It is the responsibility of management to assess FLT operations and ensure that safe system of work are implemented and maintained.
The Health and Safety Commission has published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) 'Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training'. This sets the legal minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to operate certain types of lift truck.
There is no statutory requirement for drivers of FLTs to have a licence,
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)reg.9 requires all persons using work equipment to be adequately trained.
The HSE Approved Code of Practice covers stacking rider-operated lift trucks, including articulated steering truck types.
Rider-operated means any truck that can carry an operator and includes trucks controlled from both seated and stand-on positions.
The Health and Safety Commission recognises six organizations as competent to accredit and monitor training providers who train both instructors and FLT Operators.
When selecting trainers, employers and candidates should satisfy
themselves that training is carried out in accordance with this ACOP.
It is important that instructors have undergone appropriate training
themselves on the types of lift truck and attachments they are providing
instruction on. Instructors must also be able to provide evidence
of sufficient industrial experience in the field that they are training.
Due to the nature of the training, it should be mostly practical in content enabling trainees to acquire the basic skills and knowledge required for safe operation of the all types of equipment that they will be using. Suitable training on the risks arising from lift-truck operations should be provided. Training of operators should always include :-
Fork Lift Truck basic training must 'fully cover the skills and
knowledge required for the safe operation of the type of lift truck
and handling attachments (if any) which the trainee will be required
This should include risks arising directly from the operation of the vehicle, as well as those associated indirectly, such as the fire hazard created by the possible production of hydrogen gases when recharging batteries.
The length of training may vary depending on both the experience of the trainee operators and objectives to be covered. As a guide, you should expect the normal length of a course for inexperienced operators to be approximately five days. In all cases, the time allotted needs to be sufficient to ensure that the training objectives can be achieved.
There is no statutory requirement to provide refresher training, but even
trained and experience lift-truck operators need to be reassessed
from time to time. This assessment should be suitably planned to
ensure that it is done at suitable intervals.
In addition to routine safety monitoring, reassessment might be appropriate where:-
To enable operators to extend the range of trucks they are qualified
to drive, conversion training is recommended.
Refresher and conversion training should be similar to basic training but targeted to fill knowledge gaps in equipment variants in addition to reinforcing existing skills. Conversion training should be considered when there may be significant variations in the arrangement or application of controls, in new or updated truck types.
Training will not ensure the competence of individuals:
This will develop with experience and should be supervised and monitored to ensure that good standards of operation are reached and maintained.