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Proper scrutiny of operator competence

11 August 2023

When it comes to recruiting workplace transport operators, how can you be sure they are trained on the equipment you want them to use? Liam Knight explains what you need to look for.

ANYONE REQUIRED to operate mobile plant and equipment must be properly trained to do so. But across the materials handling sector there remains serious confusion about how to ascertain training levels.

All too often, certificates are taken at face value and accepted as evidence that the operator is competent enough without being thoroughly validated. This could be because employers and recruitment agencies don’t know what to look for. But if an operator is asked to use equipment they are not familiar with or trained on, they are at risk of an accident, with potentially life-changing consequences for them as well as financial and operational implications for the employer.

If you are recruiting operators who have not received accredited training, there could be gaps in their abilities that could prevent them from working with the equipment correctly. 

Instead, look for training that has been delivered by an accredited training provider. They follow rigorous industry standards to ensure that operators have the knowledge and skills that will enable them to work safely and productively. 

AITT is one of several members of the Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA). When reviewing a certificate, look for evidence that training was accredited by AITT, or any other member of the ABA. There may also be an ABA code.

The certificate should have a unique reference number showing that the training has been successfully registered with that accrediting body. The number should be linked to the accrediting body’s registration scheme, e.g. the AITT system is called ACORNS (AITT Certification of Operator Registration Numbers Scheme). It is our database of all the training that has been delivered by AITT-accredited training providers. If there is no number linked to any registration scheme, the training is not accredited.

AITT will soon be launching an online 24/7 certificate checker tool which will allow employers and recruitment agencies to enter the ACORNS numbers at any time and find out instantly if the training is accredited and legitimate. 

Workplace transport is categorised into groupings based on size and function, e.g., pedestrian and rider pallet trucks (category A), counterbalance trucks (category B) and sideloaders (category C).  

Never assume that an operator’s qualification covers several truck types. There are differences in controls that affect how the truck is operated and separate training may be required for each category.

Knowing the correct codes is essential when advertising for an operator as it will enable you to check the codes on the qualifications and see whether conversion training is required.

By taking the time to thoroughly inspect certificates – and not just taking the operator’s word for it – you can be confident that your new starters have the right training on the right equipment, giving you complete peace of mind.  

Liam Knight, managing director, AITT

For more information, visit www.aitt.co.uk