Materials handling demands are growing on manufacturers and operators of distribution centres and transport depots, making them fully aware of three potential problems caused by lift truck accidents: human injury, compensation payouts and productivity downtime.
Countering this potentially damaging situation, Crown’s Equipment’s lift truck driver training scheme has evolved to provide services tailored to a companies in a ‘just in time’ trading environment where reliable logistics is crucial.
Corporates such as supermarket chains, third party logistics providers and many industrial companies form the company’s training facility client base.
Some companies approach Crown specifically to upgrade the skills of their staff, which over the years may not have received appropriate tuition. But more commonly the driver training is part of a post sales service.
“As the amount of materials handling requirement for large grocery chains, manufacturers and logistics providers is rising each year, the pressure to maintain an adequate skills base among lift truck drivers is crucial for productivity and the minimisation of danger during operation,” said manager of Crown’s forklift driver training, Paul Pagano.
“We do a large amount of work for supermarket groups that recognise the quality of driver and lift truck are equally important.
“Normally the training is part of their employee induction, but with people commonly moving between jobs every two or three years we are responsible for all their internal training including refresher programs and retraining for licensed people.
“It isn’t often we encounter drivers who are below par in skill. But we are finding that many participants in our tailored programmes do recognise forklift operation as a definite career path and are keen to get the best training possible to enhance prospects.
“There is, however, the occasional example of someone who has unwittingly been operating a lift truck unlicensed for a number of years and we undertake to properly train them for accreditation, before they incur a heavy fine.”
Some of the more common forklift accidents in Australia include tipping over the lift truck, which can be caused either by travelling with the forks raised or a sudden change of direction.
Industry-wide, most injuries/deaths caused by lift trucks involved pedestrians. The major part of the driver training involves making operators aware of work colleagues and ensuring their safety.
Other problems are triggered by operators steering lift trucks into walls or racking, or driving off raised areas such as docks and ramps.
Emphasising safe operation at all times, Crown’s driver training encourages operators to utilise the safety features built into their equipment.
Instruction is given on the proper loading and unloading of fork tynes before travel is attempted, and that a serious level of respect must be given to the stacking and unstacking tasks.
Refresher courses educate operators on the latest occupational health and safety laws pertinent to their duties.
“Only by examining our clients’ respective businesses can we intimately know their requirements and formulate the appropriate training for the greatest possible skill level to be attained by their operators,” said Pagano.
“This makes certain they perform with the highest regard to safety for themselves and other personnel working around them.”