Forklift training for supervisors is critical

Dear James
I have gone on and on about how useless it is to train forklift operators, and then have no supervision!! If drivers on the road knew there were no policemen, do you really think, however well they were trained, they would obey all the rules of the road!
One of our clients, who trains religiously, and has in excess of 20 operators on Counterbalanced and Reach trucks, operating in a yard and the warehouse, is distressed because there was an accident . Their own people are all trained by ourselves and have been there for a long time, so they did a 5 day course and have their licences renewed every two years, which as you know, involves retesting them. They also employ casuals from Employment agencies. Speaking to some of these who have been trained by various companies they have done one (Counterbalanced)or two days (For a Reach Truck as well) training. This has obviously not been checked by the client. The employment agencies want a licensed operator at the “cheapest” price. We have recently come across more and more “accredited” training centres that are offering shorter than the compulsory 5 days of training for novices. In addition, the client has never had a forklift Management Seminar!! In other words – the operators are trained and then left to their own devices to operate as they like until their next new licence is issued!
It was considered very sad this week, when one of the regular operators had to have steel pins put into his toes because they were crushed by his own forklift!! He got off the machine, left the key in the ignition, and went to chat to the supervisor. A casual operator got tired of waiting for him, jumped on the machine, and reversed, hitting and displacing, the shrink-wrap machine and a pallet, which crushed the operators foot. The whole incident is clearly seen on their closed circuit TV. While I agree with them that the accident was the fault of the casual operator, it would never have happened if the permanent operator had removed the key when he got off the machine. He knows he should, and answers the question correctly when he does a theory test. It is very seldom we even have to penalise an operator for leaving the key in the ignition when he does his test. If they had trained managers and supervisors who “police” the operators, this sort of thing would be very unlikely to happen. Their standards would be maintained.
Des Fell
Managing Director

Des Fell is the Managing Director of Accredited Training (021) 851 8656