The Dangers of Casual Forklift Training
What is casual forklift training?
Casual forklift training is that which is carried out informally, with no official goal or accreditation. Some employers allow inexperienced newcomers to be trained by their existing forklift operators, rather than by professional training providers, which is highly concerning considering the level of risk that comes with operating a forklift truck. Some of the people carrying out this training have also never been instructed by an accredited trainer, which only worsens the problem.
Although there are some elements of forklift driving which may be adequately explained in-house by experienced employees, environments such as warehouses and construction sites are extremely high-risk – formal training is therefore required to ensure accordance with the relevant legislation and health and safety protocols. The potential consequences when things go wrong, which could have been avoided with proper training, can be disastrous.
What dangers could casual forklift training cause?
Forklift trucks are an extremely hazardous piece of machinery, which can easily cause injuries and even fatalities – you may be surprised to find out that approximately 1 person dies in a forklift accident every 6 weeks.
Owing to the fact that forklifts have a high-up centre of gravity and are often used to carry heavy loads, they have a tendency to tip over and cause loads to fall. This can be catastrophic for both those operating the forklift and those in the vicinity – earlier this year an engineering fabrication company in Warrington was sentenced after one of its workers suffered life-changing crush injuries when a metal frame being moved by a forklift fell onto him.
Several injuries, or fatalities, also occur when people are struck by a moving vehicle because they were not seen by the driver – 36% of forklift-related deaths are pedestrians. This can easily be avoided with the use of clear signage and floor tape to designate separate forklift and pedestrian zones, as well as using blue/red lights to alert pedestrians – safety precautions that would be emphasised by a certified trainer.
What impact does this have on your company?
Improperly training employees to use forklifts can eventually lead to devastating consequences for your company. Careless drivers will inevitably cause accidents to happen and this can affect a business in several ways, the main one being any injuries or trauma caused to employees or the general public.
Accidents in the workplace can be very costly, too, with many expenses to be considered: wages for injured workers and replacement workers, increased insurance premiums, and any remedial work required. There may also be legal costs involved and fines to be paid.
Your business may be forced to have a period of downtime while processes are re-evaluated. Of course, word spreads quickly, and a company’s reputation can be significantly tarnished if a serious accident occurs. This can be very off-putting to potential clients and staff, meaning that your business can suffer from a loss of work and resources.
East Midlands Driver Training are specialists in the supply, repair and maintenance of forklifts, and now offer comprehensive on-site training from AITT-accredited instructors. To elevate your employees’ skills and make your site safer and legally compliant, contact us today.