AITT urges further training for lift truck operators

AITT urges further training for lift truck operators

New research from AITT has suggested a growth in the number of employers recognising the need for additional training when operators are expected to work on new and different types of equipment.

Announcing the figures, General Manager of AITT, Adam Smith, explained: “We have identified a 27% rise in the numbers of fork lift truck operators taking conversion courses. It’s a positive sign that our message is getting across.

“For too long, it was assumed that once an operator has gained a certificate to drive a forklift s/he was entitled to operate any model with just a bit of practice and experience. Like so much bad practice, it was a based on a heady mix of confusion, ignorance or sheer disregard for the legislation.”

AITT have said that employers need to be aware that operator training falls into three distinct categories, with conversion training required to extend an operator’s range of equipment.

These are:

Basic Training – This covers all the knowledge and skills needed to safely operate a particular fork lift, including attachments. It takes place “off the job” over several days and covers 16 distinct areas.

Specific Job Training – This follows the basic training course or can be combined with it. It is also conducted away from the everyday working environment and is application-specific, in conditions similar to those that operators will face in the workplace.

Familiarisation Training – Carried out in the actual workplace, it allows the operator to apply skills learnt in the previous two training stages under real conditions.

Alongside these is Conversion Training, which is designed to enable a trained and experienced operator to work on a wider range of fork lifts. This may mean learning to operate a truck from a different category, for example enabling an operator of counterbalance trucks to operate reach or articulated trucks. It’s also needed when an operator is required to operate a much larger or more powerful model of the same category of equipment for which they are trained, but where controls may be very different.

Adam concluded: “Progress is being made but there is still plenty of confusion out there. We are happy to advise employers on their responsibilities in confidence and without any obligation.”

For more information call AITT on 01530 810867 or email

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