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There will be times when an organisation needs to enlist short-term forklift truck operators, whether simply to support the business during peak periods, or during staff shortages. 
A perfect storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit has caused a shortfall in workers in many industries, and while the HGV driver shortage has been well publicised, Clare Bottle, chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association, claims that ‘more than twice as many warehouse forklift truck drivers as HGV drivers were EU nationals’, according to the Guardian
 
This has led to companies needing to call on temporary or agency workers to help support the business. However, unless these new operators are made familiar with the equipment, the site layout, and daily tasks and maintenance, it could increase the risk of accidents, injuries, and damage, and ultimately slow down productivity. 
 
The Approved Code of Practice for Rider-Operated Lift Trucks (L117), emphasises that special risk management is required and with good reason. Research shows workers are four times as likely to be involved in an accident during the first month of their employment than at any other time. 
 
Employers will have the same legal responsibilities for agency workers as they do for all staff, and we have a look at three steps to ensure any new operator is capable of doing their job. 
 
1. Verify experience and qualifications - Any operator undergoing formal training should receive a certificate to document they have completed basic training. When checking documentation, ook for courses accredited by the organisations that make up the Accrediting Bodies Association (ABA) to ensure the training carried out meets the standards set by the HSE. 
 
2. Provide proper training - Operators must be fully trained before using materials handling equipment on-site, otherwise, they are a danger to themselves and those around them and at heightened risk of causing accidents, disruptions and delays in productivity. 
 
3. Keep written records of authorisation - On the completion of relevant training, employers must give operators written authorisation before they can use a truck – and this includes temporary and agency workers. With a real risk of serious injury resulting from forklift accidents, there’s no good argument for putting an unqualified person in control. 
 
If you’re looking for forklift driver training, get in touch today
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