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Keeping up to date

09 March 2021

RTITB MD LAURA NELSON offers three tips for safe handling with lift trucks.

Although Covid-19 has introduced different safety measures to logistics and storage operations, best practices around lift truck operations and training must not be forgotten.

1. Read the guidance

Essential reading for anyone managing lift truck (or any rider operated equipment) operations is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document ‘Lift truck training: advice for employers’, plus ‘ACOP L117 – Rider Operated Lift Trucks: Operator training and safe use’.

The latter provides a good practice blueprint alongside practical examples. It interprets the law, making it easier to understand what is required. There is no legal obligation to follow an ACOP, but in the event of an incident, employers can be prosecuted if it can be proven that this guidance was not followed. If you act upon the guidance, you will be doing enough to comply.

2. Understand ‘how it works’

Does a manager need to have been trained on specific equipment or be a qualified operator? No, but they need to have a good basic level of understanding and knowledge of their specific working environment and best practices. Managers should know enough to recognise what’s right and wrong, safe, and unsafe.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) stipulates that any employee who supervises or manages the use of work equipment should receive adequate training for the purpose of health and safety, including training in the methods of using the work equipment, any risks, and precautions to be taken.

Mangers should also take note of unsafe operating practice, as with workers returning from furlough and isolation, it’s understandable that operating standards can slip. Returning workers should be assessed and supervised to identify any training needed to remedy issues.

It is also important to remember the role of correct manual handling in safety. With recent HSE statistics showing that the transportation sector has an above average rate of musculoskeletal injuries, there is certainly room for improvement in this area.

3. Know responsibilities around training

Training and safety are linked, so it’s important to know the training each operator requires, what it should cover, and when refresher training is needed.

It’s essential to understand the three stages of lift truck operator training – Basic, Specific Job and Familiarisation – and why training is an ongoing process that continues into the workplace and needs to be appropriately documented. 

RTITB has developed a new eLearning course ‘Managing Covid Risk During Lift Truck Training’, which is available for free to provide support throughout the challenges of Covid-19. The course is ideal for training teams and managers in supply chain organisations delivering inhouse training, as well as lift truck training providers.

For more information, visit www.rtitb.com