Current Law, Legislation & Accreditiaion

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The legislation

If you are considering forklift driver training think! In theory anyone can train someone to drive a forklift truck especially if they are a forklift driver. After all, it’s just like a car don’t you think?

Although anyone can train someone else, it is very likely that the company who arranged for this to happen, is leaving themselves wide open to a prosecution under regulation 9 of PUWER and the Health and Safety at Work Act, section 2 (c) in the event of an accident.

The act states that employers and the self-employed must take all reasonable practicable steps to ensure that employees are safe and that training has been provided. When using an experienced forklift driver to provide the training, (which some employers still do!) a company is running the risk that the experienced forklift driver will fail to teach them important safety facts or unwittingly teach the novice their bad habits

The Approved Code of Practice for forklift operator training has been around since April 1989 and this also emphasises the need for proper training to be carried out.

Accreditation of training

This is the reason that an accreditation scheme exists. The purpose for the accrediting bodies is to ensure that the training companies who are accredited by them, carry out the training in the proper manor according to the Approved Code of Practice. They control what is being taught and they designed both the written and practical tests to be used as well as setting out minimum course durations. The accrediting bodies monitor training companies closely to ensure suitable records are being kept and the standard of the training is being maintained

Being accountable for arranging training you should protect yourself, make use of the accrediting bodies information to ensure that your training is being carried out to the required standards. Be especially careful of training companies offering shortened courses or a one day course of basic training. A one day course is ok for refresher training, with a maximum of three delegates. There are still some “cowboy training companies” out there so remember the old adage “let the buyer beware!”

Refresher training for forklift operators

We are frequently asked about refresher training: i.e. is refresher training mandatory and after how long? The 2005 Workplace Transport Regulations states that they are mandatory! The NORS system allows for operators to have refresher training every three years in order to renew their forklift qualification. The RTITB write to all the registered forklift operators at their home address to remind when refresher training is due and to remind them who trained them last time. Forklift refresher training is also called for in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. To be pedantic: there is no forklift licence but everyone seems to call it that, it might be better described as a certificate of competence!

We cannot say refresher training courses MUST be carried out every three years as the time frame is not laid down in any legislation. What we do know is, following an accident, the investigating officer will ask how long it has been since the last training was provided, who provided it, if it was too long and not considered to be proper training it could influence the prosecution case.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98)

” Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of Health & Safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail precautions to be taken.  This also applies to those who manage & supervise people who use work equipment and also to the self-employed.”

Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 2 (1)

” It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 37 (1)

” Where an offence… committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

For more information, read the following HSE publication INDG345 – Health and Safety Training ‘What you need to know’

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