When it comes to driving a forklift truck, training isn’t just important from a safety perspective, it’s a legal requirement. As health and safety regulations are updated on an almost annual basis, it is imperative that you and your employees keep up with the obligation to be competently trained on how to operate a forklift truck in accordance with the current regulations. If your drivers are without a current certificate, your company is breaking the law.
Basic forklift training
Drivers who are trained in basic forklift operation can expect to learn about the practicalities of how to use a truck, with a focus on inspection procedures, refuelling/recharging, manoeuvring and controlling a unit. This provides drivers with the bare minimum of information required to safely operate a forklift – but in many instances, employers will expect more from their employees to help boost productivity and ensure compliance with internal risk assessments.
Context is everything
When undergoing forklift training, a driver should be taught how to use their skills in a context specific to their workplace. No two warehouses are the same, so it’s important that employees understand the layout of their environment, and how best to navigate that environment.
For example, smaller, more compact warehouses may require a lot more reversing and tricky manoeuvring in comparison to wider spaces. Outdoor environments may have inclines and obstacles to navigate around. The best way to equip your drivers with the skills and knowledge they require is to arrange for on-the-job training at your premises, which can be arranged with Hitec. This can involve drawing up a list of hazards specific to your working environment and ensuring that all employees are familiar with what to look out for during the working day.
Vehicle-specific forklift training
It should never be taken for granted that a driver who has passed a forklift test will be familiar with all types of forklift. Different truck models will invariably have different control layouts, and in a busy working environment, the split-second decision to press a button or flip a switch could mean catastrophe without vehicle-specific training. As a rule, it’s good practice to ensure your drivers are fully trained on all forklift trucks they may be operating over the course of a working week. This helps to avoid malpractice, ensures stock remains undamaged and protects your business against any potential litigation, should an accident occur.
Don’t rush your forklift training
While your employees might be eager to get out onto the shop floor, it’s important to ensure they are 100% competent and 100% ready to engage with the live workplace environment. The best way to do this is to introduce them incrementally to a working situation, as overseen by a qualified forklift driving instructor. While this might seem over-the-top, remember that the health and safety of your employees is paramount, and nothing can be left to chance. This happens on the road after learner drivers pass their test all the time – after all, it’s not uncommon to see green L-plates on a vehicle. After passing their basic training, your employees should ideally be supervised until they display the competence and confidence required to successfully put in a shift unaided.
Forklift training for increased productivity
While safety is the number one concern when it comes to forklift training, learning new skills can help your workforce to become more productive. With the ability to perform complex moves, you can expect your drivers to get more done over the course of a shift. In addition to this, understanding how to operate a forklift more economically can help to save your company more money on fuel/electricity costs, and will ultimately result in less downtime and maintenance of your units.
How forklift training from Hitec could improve the capability of your business
With high-quality forklift training from expert instructors, you can expect all-round improvements from your warehousing team. Whether you’d like to give your team a refresher course, implement more site-specific training or simply bring your business in line with current health and safety legislation, you can expect unbeatable results with Hitec.
For more information on forklift training, or to book your team in for a course, simply contact a member of our friendly and experienced team today – we’re ready and waiting to deliver first-class training at your convenience.