Every company using forklifts or aerial equipment is responsible for providing operator safety training to keep in compliance with federal law. When developing a safety plan for your company and its lift truck operator, the first decision to make for your company is whether to have an in-house trainer or outsource the training to a specialist. Having an in-house trainer may seem like an easy solution; however, there are potential pitfalls to consider.
When your company is able to dedicate a full-time employee to training, having an in-house trainer can be a good fit. As an employee of the company, he or she is familiar with the culture, equipment, products, site-specific hazards and accident history. Another advantage can be the flexibility of scheduling training for new hires, ensuring operators attend the training prior to using equipment.
If your in-house trainer’s primary responsibility isn’t forklift or aerial equipment safety training, consider how to address these pitfalls and if your company should outsource the operator training.
An in-house trainer that is responsible for other roles in the company may not have the flexibility needed to keep operators in compliance. For example, if a new hire starts, can he or she complete training prior to the employee operating equipment? Can time be allocated to tracking employees for refresher training? Will accidents and near-misses be addressed timely with operators and/or management?
Your in-house trainer has ownership for keeping your employees safe. Doing so means engaging the operators and helping them to understand the importance of safe operation. Are his or her presentation skills effective for adult learners? Does he or she hesitate to challenge co-workers or current operations? Are his or her personal experiences shared and relatable?
The federal law is a large amount of information to digest and interpretations can vary. Your in-house trainer will be relied on to provide guidance to your company and operators to keep in compliance. How familiar with the laws is your in-house trainer? Is he or she a fast learner and comfortable using the internet as a resource? Does he or she have hands-on experience with the company’s equipment?
Materials used during training are important and must be as effective as the trainer. Using a variety of visuals will keep training fresh and easy to understand. Does he or she have a variety of tools such as a presentation, videos, models and pictures? Are operators provided with booklets containing the information and an area for notes? Is he or she providing recent articles related to OSHA, ANSI and lift truck safety? Are wallet cards and other documentation provided after the training?
An in-house trainer must have management support to implement and enforce safety measures. Without support, the efforts are dismissed and inevitably trainer burn-out will occur. Can your in-house trainer communicate big picture needs with management? Are safety concerns quickly addressed? Does management support scheduling dates for training and allocate budget funds for safety hazards?
If you conclude your company does not have the needed time, management support or resources for an in-house trainer, many lift truck dealers or training companies can provide this service. Hiring a specialist also brings a level of expertise, acting as a credible source that can help support the training efforts your company made if an accident does occur. Based on the number of lift truck operators, type of equipment and other factors, a training specialist can find the class to best fit your needs.
Currently have a need for forklift or aerial lift safety training?
Learn more about ProLift’s class options – forklift training, aerial lift training and pedestrian awareness.