It is estimated that each year 10% of all investigated accidents involving lift trucks are caused largely by the lack of operator training, resulting in injury to operators and to those around them (Health & Safety Executive (HSE) figures).
The need to train
- As an employer, you have an obligation to ensure that all operators who use work equipment are trained to approved standards, and that their supervisors are also adequately trained.
“Every employer shall ensure that all persons who use work equipment have received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
Every employer shall ensure that any of his employees who supervises or manages the use of work equipment has received adequate training for purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment, any risk which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.” (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations section 9).
- In any industry, there is always risk. Work related accidents can happen even in the most safety conscious of companies. These accidents, some fatal, cause suffering for the people involved and also for their dependants.
- They also create a heavy cost on the employer’s business – even an incident not involving injury may result in costly damage to trucks, buildings, fittings and to the loads being handled.
What could happen if you do nothing?
- Failure to train your operators could be considered to be:
- A breach of PUWER 1998 (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) or a breach of LOLER 1998 (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations).
- There is the very real possibility that if there is an accident, and the Health & Safety Executive bring a prosecution to court, your company could be found to be negligent in discharging its duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act. This could mean that your company insurance could be invalidated. Ultimately the directors could be found to be personally liable and incur unlimited fines.
- The potential for adverse publicity, should a company be convicted, and the subsequent loss of goodwill and business should be deterrent enough to ensure that good standards of health and safety training are maintained.
What can you do?
- Employers should not allow anyone to operate mechanical handling equipment, even on a very casual basis, if they have not satisfactorily completed basic training and testing.
- Training, followed by regular monitoring of performance of your operators, is by far the best way to promote safer use of mechanical handling equipment, and as you now know, the omission to train your personnel could be a very real and costly mistake for you to make.
- Implementing an effective on-going training programme is therefore not only desirable, it is a legal necessity, and is the first step in reducing damage and injury to key personnel.