Maintaining a safe operation during a pandemic

In normal times, employers are required to ensure that their staff are trained and competent to safely operate any industrial lift truck equipment that they use, whether they are new to driving MHE or are in need of a refresher. To ensure continued competence and site safety, it is recommended that alongside regular monitoring, refresher training is recommended every 3-5 years. 

So with forklift operators under huge pressure and temporary workers being recruited to keep supply chains moving during a pandemic, where does that leave operator training?

The HSE has released the following statement with regard to the need for training: 

“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.”

An extension of three months can be applied for anyone in need of refresher training but only under circumstances directly related to Coronavirus such as closure of training facilities, unavailability of instructors/assessors or complying with isolation guidelines.

Anyone being employed to operate a forklift who does not have a qualification must undergo the appropriate training first. The same applies to conversion training when operators may be required to drive different types of industrial equipment.

It remains the responsibility of the employer not to allow anyone to operate lift trucks on any premises without authorisation and authorisation should only be given where employees have completed suitable training in line with government guidance and have achieved an appropriate level of operating ability.

There are plenty of recommendations that have been made by the governing bodies to ensure that training can be carried out in a way that minimises the risk of Covid-19 transmission. At HFT we have implemented these measures and more with the following:

  • Social distancing applied with the aid of proximity alarms and full PPE in use
  • Coronavirus questionnaire completed within the 24 hours prior to training commencing 
  • Temperature check on arrival
  • The Training Department is a sealed bubble with no access allowed other than instructor and trainee - trainees and instructors are not allowed into any other areas of Infinity House
  • Facilities with plenty of ventilation
  • Separate toilet and washing facilities provided
  • Full sanitisation of facilities between courses
  • Hand sanitiser readily available

Together we can protect keep supply chains moving safely and protect operators from the risk of accident & injury and Covid-19.

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