When you look at the statistics, it is easy to see why forklift driver training is so important. Around 25% of all transport-related workplace accidents involve a lift truck of some kind. UK employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees and other people on their premises. In this article we explain why forklift certification and forklift refresher courses are such an important addition, not only to a health and safety policy, but also to a general work ethos and HR outlook.
Historically there has been some confusion because businesses are not required by law to issue training certificates for forklift driver training or a forklift refresher course. This means that there is, in effect, no generic forklift licence. However, there is a legal requirement to ensure the safety of all people in a workplace, particularly when it comes to using equipment, and it makes sense to ensure the standardisation and transferability of forklift driver training through the issuing of forklift certification. At AFTT we offer a full range of AITT (Association of Industrial Truck Trainers) accredited courses at either your location or our state-of-the-art Hertfordshire training facility.
The legal implications of forklift driver training
Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), all employers are required to ensure that anybody using or overseeing the use of work equipment including those who are self-employed, have received adequate training. All AFTT forklift driver training courses follow the HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) for lift truck operator training, which includes detailed guidance on potential lift truck operators, training objectives, testing, familiarisation training and authorisation. The HSE ACOP states that certificates of training offer, ‘evidence that operators have received relevant training and achieved an appropriate level of ability’.
Forklift driver training and liability
It is impossible to avoid some element of liability if accidents occur on company property or when people are using company equipment. However a company that is running with untrained forklift operators or fails to have an adequate health and safety policy, including policies on forklift driver training and forklift refresher courses, is going to have far larger liable claims on their hands than one with a measured and comprehensive policy that includes nationally accredited forklift certification.
For new employees
The HSE are very clear that there is officially no such thing as a lift-truck or forklift licence. This means that, when a new employee joins your team, you are responsible for either ensuring that accredited training takes place or checking any previous qualifications. If it has not been provided by an AITT accredited organisation, the quality of the training will be difficult to verify and it will be up to you, as the employer, to take the sensible decision to provide access to a suitable forklift refresher course.
For existing employees
The HSE regulations state that previously trained or experienced lift truck or forklift operators should be ‘routinely monitored and, where necessary, retested or refresher trained’ in order to ensure the safe continuation of forklift use. Any employer who ignores or attempts to skirt around this instruction could be skating on thin ice. A considered forklift certification and forklift refresher course policy will cover the slightly subjective ‘where necessary’ element of this directive. At AFTT we offer AITT fully accredited fork truck courses, instructor courses, manager/supervisor courses and plant training courses.
Representing a good return on investment
Lift truck accidents are not only costly in terms of injury compensation and insurance costs; even in an accident where nobody is injured, costs related to damaged equipment, stock and even buildings can quickly escalate. Drivers who are trained correctly through initial forklift certification or a forklift refresher course are less likely to cause accidents, less likely to injure themselves and require sick leave and less likely to place ‘blame’ on their employer should an accident occur. All of our AFTT forklift driver training courses, plus our forklift refresher courses include accreditation.
Forklift driver training can boost staff morale
A job satisfaction study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 41% of workers see job-specific training as ‘very important’ to their job satisfaction. Staff who don’t receive correct and necessary training are not only a danger to themselves and other people, they can more easily become disgruntled and consider leaving a post.
The costs of replacing employees who leave an organisation are high and include advertising and interview costs, the downtime whilst a replacement employee is found and the logistics of getting somebody new up to speed. Accredited forklift certification and access to a forklift refresher course are of importance to your employees and may prove to be an attractive factor when it comes to workforce retention and recruitment.
Voluntary accreditation for forklift driver training
We are proud to offer courses that have been accredited by the Association of Industrial Truck Trainers (AITT). Accreditation in this manner is voluntary but we feel it is a vital tool that enables us to assure quality of training, and guarantee worthwhile forklift certification. It is the job of an accreditation organisation to ensure that all forklift driver training meets the HSE’s Approved Code of Practice for lift-truck operator training by setting and maintaining professional standards and making it easier for employers to select courses that offer a high standard of training.
For any employer or manager responsible for the safety of a workforce that uses lift-truck equipment, a solid health and safety approach will include measured company policy on forklift certification and when employees should take a forklift refresher course. At AFTT we offer a comprehensive range of forklift and lift-truck training for new employees, existing employees, supervisors and managers. Get in touch with us today on 01438 222157to find out more and obtain a free, no-obligation quote for your training needs.