Safer Site Essentials TWO: Operators

A fork lift truck is only as safe as the person using it. For this reason the safety awareness of your operators is critical.

Things to do…

Identify and Carry Out Training – for ALL Operators… and, ideally, colleagues who work around them

It’s important that your fork lift operators – even if they only use a truck occasionally – are trained by properly qualified instructors with current qualifications. This can be either an Accredited Instructor (AI) or a Registered Instructor (RI).

You can find a training provider by speaking to your local dealer, or by contacting your closest FLTA Member company

You should also consider a “safely working the lift trucks” type of course for those who work in the proximity of lift trucks.  Some courses bring together operators and pedestrians to address bad practice, unsafe behaviour and complacency, highlighting the potential consequences for the delegates themselves as well as their colleagues and the company itself.

Regularly Reinforce Your Training

The ACOP requires you to monitor and assess your operators on a regular basis and provide refresher training when necessary. You may wish to consider contacting a specialist training provider who will provide you with the resources to assess whether or not your operators need to be retrained and to focus your training budget where it will make the biggest difference and deliver the greatest benefits.

Ensure the Use of Seat Restraints

A survey conducted by the FLTA showed that 90% of fork lift operators don’t always wear seat restraints. (In fact, it was this finding that inspired us to write Safety 4Most.)

Seat restraints are a vital part of fork lift safety that come into their own when there is a major incident, with a truck turning on its side or falling off the back of a lorry or loading bay. Thankfully such incidents are rare, but when they do occur, and the operator is not wearing a belt, the results are catastrophic.

Carry Out Regular Pre-Shift Checks

Regardless of whether your fork lift trucks are used all day every day or for only a few hours a week, pre-shift tests are a cornerstone of safety – and operators need to take responsibility for ensuring they’re done.

To help you carry out these procedures we’ve developed a Daily Checks booklet, available from the Document’s section of our store.

Note: Members of the FLTA Safe User Group can obtain these booklets at a discounted rate.

Re-enforce Breakdown Procedures

No matter how well maintained your vehicles, breakdowns are inevitable. Your operators must be prepared for this, and at the very least make sure they know:

  • What to do next
  • To establish whether the truck can be moved safely and without causing further damage or not—especially when it is blocking a route
  • Who to call for advice
  • The system for authorising and organising repairs

Common operator errors

  • Speeding
  • Overloading the truck
  • Not using the parking brake properly
  • Forgetting seat belts
  • Not noticing pedestrians and hazards

Our Operator Safety Booklets can further help ensure the safety of your employees. You can view these here.

Note: Members of the FLTA Safe User Group can obtain these booklets at a discounted rate.

Next step: 3: Safe Site