6th August 2008


 Issue No.  2008/16




Management have the responsibility to assess FORKLIFT TRUCK (FLT) operations and ensure that safe systems of work are implemented and maintained. Subsequent responsibilities for safe use will also lie with line managers, supervisors and operators.
The Principal causes of accidents involving FLTs are: 
  • Operator error/insufficient or lack of appropriate training
  • Workplace layout and organisation
  • Poor maintenance
In this article, we concentrate on driver selection and training.
FLT drivers should be reliable and responsible people, with a reasonable degree of both physical and mental fitness. In cases where disability is potentially relevant, medical advice should be obtained and considered.  Selection testing may be useful. 
Training should be carried out in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) ‘Rider operated lift trucks: operator training’. 'Rider-operated' means any truck capable of carrying an operator and includes trucks controlled from both seated and stand-on positions. It relates to stacking rider-operated lift trucks (such as counterbalanced FLTs, reach trucks, rough terrain counterbalanced FLTs and telescopic materials handlers) but excludes straddle carriers and “no lift” trucks.  
No person to whom the code applies should be employed to operate a lift truck unless he or she has satisfactorily completed training and testing as described in the code.
Training should include the following stages:-
  • Basic training
  • Specific job training, relating to the FLT to be used
  • Familiarisation training at the workplace, under supervision.
Conversion training would be needed for operators going onto different FLTs.
Records should be kept of training and associated test results. Certificates of basic training are a useful, practical means of providing documentary evidence that relevant training has taken place and an appropriate level of operating ability has been attained.
Employers should continuously monitor the performance of operators to ascertain whether they might need refresher training. Indicators might be near misses, accidents or consistently unsafe working practices. This is especially the case if operators are occasional users, have not operated trucks for some time, or there has been a change in their working practices or environment.  
It is recommended that refresher training take place between 3 and 5 years depending upon the operator’s use of an FLT.
Only authorised personnel should be allowed to operate FLTs. Authorisation should be:-
  • in writing
  • confined to the type of FLT and work for which the employer has found the operator competent
  • for a specified period.




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