Enhanced standards for power pallet trucks will boost warehouse safety
Powered pallet trucks (PPTs) are among the most commonly used pieces of handling equipment in any warehouse … and some of the most dangerous. Every year many hundreds of operators using them suffer serious injuries including strains, trapping and fractures.
According to the Accrediting Bodies Association (ABA), most incidents can be attributed to a lack of adequate training with many employers under the false impression that operators of PPTs and stackers do not require any formal training.
However, under PUWER regulations it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that staff receive suitable and sufficient training and that is the benchmark against which an employer will be judged in the case of an incident that is investigated by the HSE.
And the penalties for failing to train are severe. One supermarket giant was fined £1 million for ‘providing insufficient training’ when an employee lost two toes in an accident involving a powered pallet truck.
Indeed, such is the importance of training for users of PPTs that on 1st December 2019 the ABA introduced new and tougher standards for testing the basic operating skills for rider and pedestrian pallet trucks and stackers (Category A).
The format for the new standards is based on those agreed in recent years for counterbalance trucks. As a result, the test is now nationally consistent, more rigorous and more compatible with other categories of equipment.
The new testing standards target habitual bad practice with those repeatedly committing the same safety-related fault failing the test’s practical element and require further training.
The introduction of these highly relevant, challenging and common testing standards across all accrediting bodies creates the perfect platform for employers to improve safety in their workplaces – whilst also enhancing efficiency and productivity.
It is vital, therefore that all employers to provide appropriate training on powered pallet trucks and stackers.
In broad terms, changes to the regime will affect four aspects of the test: