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As site visits are necessary, what should be done about Thorough Examinations during this time? Will Thorough Examinations be extended if the company has evidence of regular maintenance?

The HSE has been steadfast in their insistence that examinations should still be carried out on or before their due dates and the FLTA fully support this stance.

The current demand for forklifts and other materials handling equipment is significant. In an effort to keep vital goods available and the supply chain moving, much of the equipment is being used far more that it would under normal circumstances. In the absence of inspection, the risk of catastrophic component failure is greater than usual. Malfunctioning equipment may lead to injuries — potentially life-changing — and while the NHS is already under enormous strain, now more than ever it’s time to ensure every possible safety procedure is followed, and preventative measures are kept in place.

With operators under enormous pressure and many temporary workers being recruited to keep the supply chain moving, what is being advised with regards to training?

Getting workers the appropriate training on the equipment they will be using is extremely important, and with many businesses adapting the way they work, many workers will need to undergo conversion training.

Industry bodies have been talking to the HSE for clarification and guidance on this matter of training during a pandemic.

The HSE has issued a full statement in response:

"If requalification training cannot take place for reasons associated directly with coronavirus, such as closure of training facilities, unavailability of trainers/assessors or by complying with other government advice on isolation and social distancing, it may be reasonable and practicable to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months.

“To prevent accident and injury, the duty remains to ensure that staff are trained and competent to operate any industrial lift truck equipment, and this includes driver training, and the employer must be able to demonstrate that the driver is trained and competent.”

What guidance is there on MHE training ratios during the coronavirus pandemic?

While the re-qualification period has been extended by three months, the requirement for initial training remains a pre-requisite before deploying any new, or previously inexperienced personnel, in the operation of materials handling equipment.

Specifically on the subject of trainer/trainee ratios, we are advising one-to-one. This is to comply with the rules for public gatherings and to maintain the appropriate social distance of 2m at all times.

Please see the statement from the HSE and the joint statement from the training accreditors, AITT and RTITB.