Many employers are choosing to purchase or deliver in-house forklift training unaware that, unlike accredited training, this may not comply with the required legal or best practice standards. Opting for in-house training could unnecessarily increase the risk of a workplace incident, explains RTITB.
“Companies offering in-house training are taking a big risk and may be compromising safety and compliance,” warns Laura Nelson, Managing Director for RTITB, the UK’s leading workplace transport training regulatory body.
“Unfortunately, it can often seem like everything is ok until there is an incident. Only then, when the details are being looked at in much more detail, do the issues and failings of in-house training become apparent.”
Accredited training is externally verified and confirmed as meeting the requirement in PUWER Regulation 9* of ‘adequate training’.
“Even if the in-house forklift training programme includes delivery of a course by an RTITB registered instructor, this does not by default provide training at the level compliant with PUWER,” explains Laura. Likewise, companies using accredited training organisations to deliver an ‘in-house only’ certificate are also not providing training at an independently verified standard.”
“RTITB accreditation of a company enables the business to deliver training that is compliant with relevant legislation and Codes of Practice,” says Laura, explaining that in the event of an incident, RTITB accreditation also means businesses and their employees can prove high quality training has been provided and that appropriate safety measures have been taken. And in turn reduce costs and improve efficiencies in their business.”
Accredited training offers a clear record of what was covered in the training, as well as information to confirm testing took place under proper conditions. Conversely, in-house courses cannot be guaranteed to have been administered correctly and fairly.
“Some companies may be delivering what appears to be a good level of in-house training, but without independent accreditation, how can you be absolutely sure your instructor is still competent and delivering training as he/she was trained to?” says Laura. “A benefit of accredited training is that training providers are annually audited – this helps prevent the bad habits and shortcuts that may otherwise creep in, and reassures companies of the quality of the training delivered.”
Annual audits carried out by RTITB on all accredited training providers help monitor compliance and identify any areas for improvement. To further promote safety and efficient operation, accredited training is usually delivered over a longer period of time than standard in-house training. Approved RTITB course material ensures in-depth theory and practical lessons which increase driver confidence and responsibility.
“As well as supporting legal compliance and helping decrease the number of workplace incidents, accredited training has been shown to increase both operator accuracy and productivity,” says Laura, explaining that accredited training has been found to contribute to a reduction in operator and truck downtime, as well as helping to reduce stock damage. Maintenance requirements are also minimised.
“We want companies to know both the potential risks of in-house training as well as the benefits of accredited training so that they can choose the training that provides the safest workplace transport operation possible,” concludes Laura.
*PUWER – Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998