Forklift Refresher Training - The Legal Position
A point that sometimes causes some confusion amongst employers is the subject of forklift refresher training. There are no specific times laid down for operator refresher training although it is mandatory that it is carried out in certain circumstances.
The ACoP that deals with forklift training states that forklift refresher training should be provided but leaves the employer to decide when that should be. As a general rule most employers would seek to arrange for their operators to receive refresher training somewhere between three and five years after the basic training has been carried out. The ACOP states that regular refresher training will ensure operators:
It also states that forklift refresher training or re-testing might also be appropriate where operators:
The subject of forklift refresher training is also covered in the 2005 Workplace Transport Regulations which you can download here.
RTITB Services Ltd, (a major accrediting body), run the National Operators Registration Scheme, (NORS). Under this scheme, operators are subjected to a refresher training course every three years and an expiry date is included on their NORS qualification. RTITB write to every person registered on the NORS database at their home address to remind them that their forklift refresher training is due.
In the event of an accident or investigation the authorities will ask to see the certificate of training. They will then possibly ask for proof of other training such as that designed for special attachments or unusual working conditions etc. They will also want to know about the course durations to see if they correspond with those laid down by the accrediting bodies. If they do not, it may be deemed that the training was insufficient and a prosecution might follow. If you are booking training with a company ask about this and get them to put it in writing if in doubt. (Be particularly aware of one day courses as these are only approved for refresher training for previously certificated operators).
The HSE inspector would almost certainly want to know the length of time that had passed since the training was provided. If all is in order then it will probably prevent a prosecution for failing to provide training. Note that the maximum fine for an offence under section 2 of the act can be unlimited! Contrary to popular belief, people in a company cannot be sent to jail under section 2 of the HSE Act except for some quite rare, specific offences.
One last thing. It is the EMPLOYER who has to give permission for an employee to operate fork lifts at the company and this should be in writing. Neither the instructor or the training company have the authority to do this in law.
If you think training is expensive. try having an accident!
Details of the operator practical test can be found here