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Companies urged to prioritise novice training

AITT advises businesses to plan training schedules further ahead amid instructor shortage.

We are reminding owners and users of work equipment to allow more time when booking training courses, as the training sector is currently experiencing high demand. 

Adam Smith Managing Director of AITT explained: “The wait times for training courses are in some cases longer than normal, as many instructors are busy catching up.

“Our advice to businesses is to prioritise training for novices, to ensure that they have the skills and competence to operate work equipment safely. You should never allow untrained operators to use equipment, so it is important to focus on arranging training for new starters.

“We also suggest that businesses review their refresher training policy by conducting a risk assessment, and consider delaying refresher training by 3 to 6 months.”

Over the past year the pandemic caused some training courses to be cancelled or delayed, and social distancing requirements meant those courses that did continue had to do so with fewer delegates. 

With many companies now returning to normal operational service, the renewed need for operator training has resulted in a slight backlog in the availability of accredited training providers.

“If possible do not leave booking training courses until the last minute, as you may find that the accredited training provider you want is not available,” said Adam. “Even though it may be tempting to choose an unaccredited training provider in the meantime, you should not compromise on the quality of training you receive.

“Accredited training comes with peace of mind that the training provider is following the highest standards in line with the latest industry guidance, and there are checks and balances in place to ensure that training is documented properly. With unaccredited training providers, there is a risk the training could be inconsistent or not in-depth enough.

“Planning further ahead will help to avoid disappointment, as you will be more likely to book courses delivered by an accredited company who will ensure that your operators receive the essential, high quality training they need.”

Steve Simmons-Jacobs, Principal Specialist Inspector for the HSE said: “I support the guidance that AITT has shared regarding novice training during this busy period.” Steve also added that in his opinion: “Using Covid-19 as an excuse for not providing proper training to forklift operators will not be considered an acceptable justification.”