forklift refresher training: important thing to knowWho can perform such forklift training?

Forklift refresher training and certification must only be performed by a qualified instructor who has necessary knowledge and can deliver the course effectively. This competent person would be someone with a degree or certificate, or who has professional status or has extensive experience.

He could either be an internal safety trainer, who was hired to perform such tasks and implement safety policies of the company, or an instructor from outside source. The employer can hire a competent instructor from the private training school to perform the refresher course on site.

When do you need refresher course?

There are many instances and factors that contribute for forklift operators to take the refresher training. The refresher course must be administered when one or several of these factors are exhibited by forklift operators:

  • When lift truck drivers are seen horseplaying with the forklift. This childish act must be corrected. This is classified as unsafe manner and could lead to serious accident. (example: racing the truck, letting someone to ride on the forks, playing prank with the operator by jumping on its direction, distracting the operator by throwing an object at the driver, standing on the overhead guard, throttling the machine too hard, intentional dropping of load, performing exhibition near people, and many other unsafe manners that could lead to unfortunate events.)
  • The occurrence of minor accidents and mishaps may be normal in heavy traffic environment. What’s not is when simple mistake resulted to serious catastrophe. Forklift operators must be retrained whenever they are involved in any case of accident, minor or severe. The refresher training must be conducted in the soonest possible time, in as much as possible, all operators in the workplace, not only those involved, must attend the lecture for them to learn lessons from to prevent repetition of accident.
  • If there are near misses that could lead to property damage or accident. Many of these cases have not been reported due to the simplicity of the incident. But these kinds of things must be monitored and reported to the trainer. The trainer can consolidate all of these near misses and can be included in the next lecture.
  • There could be one or two spoiled potatoes in the basket, remember that. This is true because not all forklift operators who have been certified performed well. If you observed their behaviors, then you can send them to a refresher course. Do not wait until the next accident happens.
  • There are many instances when counterbalance forklift operator may be assigned to other shifts and operate other trucks other than those he is used to drive. Different machines have different controls and operations. Before letting the operator to drive other truck, refresher training must be given to him.
  • There are seasons when there will be lots materials in the workplace or the workplace itself is changed to accommodate the production. In this case, the forklift operators must be given retraining to correct the workplace specific issues.
  • OSHA standard requires that operators must be evaluated at least once every three years. Recertification must be given to measure their skills. Have they maintained their knowledge about the forklift operation and safety? The employer is sole responsible for providing refresher course to the fleet.

Where can the refresher be conducted?

forklift operatorsInvolved forklift drivers could be sent to training school to receive the course.

The employer schedules them and enrolls them to such course. However, this method has its disadvantage for employer. Production may suffer for obvious reason no one will man the machine to meet production quota. For the part of the employer, additional expenses may incur for the drivers’ enrollment. The employer needs to pay the wages of the operators even when they are away from work.

The most effective mean of refresher training delivery is when it is done on site or at the actual work site.

The training doesn’t have to be in a meeting room or some place neat. The training can be given anywhere in the warehouse. With this manner, the trainer can shape and alter the usual training course to cater for the need of the operators, mitigate risk about the condition of the warehouse, correct bad behavior of the operators, given lectures on the types of trucks being used by the drivers, rectify the mistakes, near misses, accidents, and other minor incidents, are important to correct to prevent repetition of these can could lead to more grave danger.

Hiring an Outside Forklift Trainer from Vs Appointing Someone

There are great deals of advantages having a company trainer that can be called to do forklift refresher training. If you are seeking the long term advantages, then I greatly advise you to appoint some one from your organization as internal forklift trainer. Here are disadvantages of hiring from outside source:

Disadvantages of Outsider:

  • Expensive – you need to call the trainer every time you need their services.
  • Time consuming – you need to make a training schedule and appointment with the trainer. Prior to this, the process of sending communication for an appointment consumes time and effort from your part.
  • There might be some instances that you need to send the operators to the trainer’s facility instead of them coming to your workplace. It can halt production, incur more expenses by paying the driver’s wages even they are not at work.
  • The delivery of the training will be delayed especially when you cannot make a training appointment/schedule. What if OSHA inspectors visited your site, and employer cannot give proof of training compliance.

I can see no advantage of hiring an instructor from outside source.

Advantages of having a company forklift trainer:

  • Can deliver training in the soonest possible time.
  • Can tailor the type of course to the current condition he observed, the type of trucks being operated, and behavior of the operators.
  • The training will be much less expensive.
  • Can easily comply with OSHA requirements. Thus, you can avoid fines and penalties that can cost for thousands of dollars.
  • Quality of training is effective and thorough.
  • Can alleviate danger by executing a risk analysis.
  • Communication and orders can easily be implemented from superiors.
  • And many others.

I see no disadvantages of having a internal instructor.

Final Word

You can someone from the group to take the train-the-trainer certification to become a certified trainer. You can send him to a private training company.

Forklift refresher training can be your ally in mitigating the risk, danger involving the forklift operation. It should be part of the training routine, safety policies and company standard.

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