I applied for a job advertised locally as a Fork Truck Operator and Instructor training instructor. I was interviewed by Mr Fortnam and eventually offered the job provided I was prepared to spend several weeks working at the RTITB’s headquarters in Wembly Middlesex. (Webmaster: The Daily Mirror got wind that the taxpayer was funding this huge building, staff and cars and used a helicopter shot of all the company cars in the car park for a piece on wasting taxpayer's money. I remember it causing a real storm at the time).
So one morning in September 1968 at 08:30 am I reported to H.Q. which was a multi-story office block, and I was met by Mr Fortnam who took me to the 4th floor and provided with a desk and 3 large boxes of materials dug up by the afore mentioned assessors and told that my first job was to go through those boxes and discard what was not needed and to use what was left to help me in writing up the training standard for fork truck operators of the most popular group of trucks, Reach and Counterbalance.
Then I was introduced to my immediate manager and the furniture removals team. In fact the manager of the furniture removals team actually took me on a tour of the 3rd and 4th floor and introduced me to various important people. He was very helpful. During that tour he warned me that my immediate manager was useless but work with him.
He is a jobs for the boys chap who has a close friend on the main board. It turned out that his advice was relevant for later that day I tried to get into conversation with my immediate manager by asking him where he had worked before he joined the RTITB. He told me he had worked for a shoe manufacturer in the east midlands. They had a green fork lift truck, he did not know whether it was a reach or a counterbalance. All he told me was that he would be chairing a team who would be responsible for writing the standard for the selection and basic training of fork truck operators for reach and counterbalance trucks.
I was the first member of that team so I could get started, The furniture removals chaps would explain the required format to me. Next week I would be joined by a second instructor and two senior inspectors of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Factories would join the team (The Predecessors of the Current Health & Safety Executive). Whatever we produced had to be approved by team of assessors made up of representatives of the Trades Union Council (TUC) Confederation of British Industry (CBI) British Association of Removers (BAR) and British Haulage Association (BHA) and the final edition submitted to the Ministry of Labour for their final Approval.
I really felt out of my depth and was tempted to quit. Fortunately I had a chat with the furniture removals instructors who had joined several weeks before me. They had experienced the same fears on their first day as it was alien to them too but once they got used to it the job became quite enjoyable. It also helped that by sheer coincidence I was in the same digs as one of them so we could chew over problems in the evenings.
Disclaimer The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.
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