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Lift-truck training

What should training include?

Operator training should always include three stages:

Basic and specific job training, which can be combined, should take place off the job (ie away from production and other pressures). Familiarisation training needs to be done on the job, under close supervision. See the Rider-operated lift trucks - L117 ACOP for more detail on what each stage involves:

How long should a basic training course last?

It is difficult to specify how long a course should last as there are many issues which affect the rate of learning. Courses should be long enough to meet the requirements of Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 of the L117 ACOP (typically 3-5 days).

Operators with some experience of lift trucks or relevant experience of similar vehicles may need less extensive training than those with no experience, however, do not overestimate the value of such experience. An operator with basic training on one type of lift truck or handling attachment cannot safely operate others, on which they have not been trained, without additional conversion training.

Training ratios

The ratio of trainee: instructor: truck should enable the instructor to demonstrate each part of the practical training and enable the trainee to obtain adequate hands-on experience (for example a maximum of 3:1:1, except for theory sessions). There should be enough time for each trainee to have enough practical experience to become a safe operator and to do so under close supervision.

Testing

The instructor should continuously assess a trainee’s progress to ensure they achieve the required standards throughout training. At the end of the training, the trainee should pass a test, or tests, to demonstrate that they have the necessary practical and theoretical knowledge and skills to operate lift trucks safely.

It is essential that newly trained operators are given specific job and familiarisation training as well as basic training. Once they have completed the three stages of training, you should give operators, including occasional users, the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge acquired during training into practice at the workplace to reinforce that training.

Monitoring and assessment

Lift-truck operators, even those who are trained and experienced, need to be routinely monitored in the workplace and, where necessary, retested or refresher trained to make sure they continue to operate lift trucks safely.

You can identify the need for further training using a formal monitoring and assessment process, carried out by a suitably competent person, such as an instructor. Formally timetable this assessment (for example a retest) to make sure it is done at reasonable intervals. Where an operator fails this assessment, arrange further training for them. You may find it useful to record these assessments in operators’ personnel records.

Refresher training

Regular refresher training will ensure operators:

Refresher training or retesting might also be appropriate where operators:

How often do I need to provide refresher training?

There is no specific time period after which you need to provide refresher training or formal assessment. However, you may decide that automatic refresher training or a retest after a set period (for example 3-5 years) is the best way to make sure employees remain competent. Where you adopt this approach, you will still need to monitor performance, in case operators need extra training before the set period ends.

The length of a refresher training course will be set by assessment of the operators to identify shortcomings and any unsafe habits which need correction. It is not, therefore, possible to advise on the length of refresher training. However, it is unlikely that refresher courses of less than one day will be effective.

Supervisor training

It is essential that supervisors have enough training and knowledge to recognise safe and unsafe practices. This does not mean they need full operator training, but they do need to understand the risks involved, and how to avoid or prevent them. Some organisations offer training courses for supervisors and managers of lift-truck operations.

Supervisors should be able to:

Use of trucks by non-employees

Use of lift trucks by people other than employees is increasingly common. Typically this is done by visiting lorry drivers and service engineers. Employers and site controllers should cooperate to ensure that only adequately trained people operate lift trucks.

2013-03-20