Requirements for Forklift Refresher Training
There isn’t any specific necessity to offer refresher training after set intervals, but even trained and experience forklift operators should be reassessed every now and then to ensure that they always operate lift trucks properly.
The underlying rationale is that employers should maintain the competency of forklift truck drivers through a formal process of training, monitoring and assessment to ensure safety standards are maintained.
Should an employer instigate refresher training it should be targeted at addressing identified weaknesses as observed through the monitoring and assessment process.
In addition to routine monitoring, formalised re-assessment is going to be needed where operators:
- haven’t used trucks for quite a while
- tend to be infrequent users
- seem to have developed unsafe working habits
- have had a near miss or accident
- working area or environment has changed
Essentially it’s up to the employer to determine the frequency of assessment and whether an operator requires further training.
However, here are some other considerations and reasons why someone may need to take further forklift driver training.
1. They wish to train on a different type of forklift truck
It is easy to lump all forklift trucks together, but the fact is that there are many different varieties of forklift truck, and the style, methods and techniques for using them most effectively can change quite markedly depending on the type of truck you drive.
In general, there are nine types of forklift trucks which are most common in the UK.
It is quite common for even quite experienced forklift operators to take refresher courses in these, especially if they have not driven that type of truck in a while and want to refresh their memory about some of the techniques that are needed to handle them.
The nine most common types of forklift truck are:
- Counterbalance Forklift Trucks
- Reach Forklift Trucks
- Combilift Trucks
- Very Narrow Aisle Trucks
- Pallet Trucks
- Pivot Steer Trucks
- Telescopic Handler Trucks
- Rider Transportable Forklift Trucks
- Sideloader Trucks
It is not uncommon for several different types of forklift to be in use at an average warehouse, dockyard or industrial setting, and so it makes sense to have as wide a knowledge base as possible.
2. To improve job prospects
It naturally follows from this that the more experience you gain at driving different types of forklift, the better your employment prospects become.
Some of these type of forklift are less commonly used, and you will also find that particularly on a standard 5 day course that you probably won’t be exposed to all of them equally.
So, it could be possible for example to take the 5 day novice course where the primary focus was on counterbalance trucks, but you then find that most of the jobs in your area are to be had from being able to drive reach trucks.
It would make sense then to take a refresher course to improve and refresh your knowledge of reach trucks and become more employable at the same time. Used in this way, taking a refresher course can be a good way of building your skills on a different type of forklift truck, while still being properly certified by one of the six training bodies that the Health and Safety Executive approves of in the UK.
3. To improve on the original forklift training
It is also true that not all courses are created equal, and so your first experience of a forklift training course may not always be totally satisfactory.
It could for example leave you with some unanswered questions, or leave you feeling as though you didn’t have enough practical experience with driving a particular type of truck.
For both these scenarios, it can be a good idea to consider taking a refresher course with a different course provider so that you get a new angle on the training and possibly learn better.
Seen in these ways refresher courses can be a good way to “refresh knowledge”, stay properly licenced, gain experience driving different types of truck and fill in the knowledge gap that your initial forklift training may have left you with.