Thankfully, it is now commonly accepted amongst most employers that operator training is a necessity for staff required to use MHE. However, there’s still a misconception that every novice operator needs a basic training course to cover each piece of equipment they need to use.
But this is not the case, and implementing your forklift training in this way could unnecessarily cost your company thousands of pounds, every year.
So, what’s the alternative? A cost and time-efficient solution is conversion training, but many employers don’t have a firm understanding of when it can be used.
Let’s take a closer look…
What is conversion training?
As per the L117, Approved Code of Practice for Rider Operated Lift Trucks,
“Conversion training enables trained and experienced operators to extend the range of lift trucks they are qualified to drive…
An operator with basic training on one type of lift truck or handling attachment cannot safely operate others, on which they have not been trained, without additional conversion training.”
Put simply, if an operator has been through a full basic training course on a rider operated lift truck (usually a counterbalance or reach) and is required to operate a truck of a different category, they can usually take a conversion course, rather than another full novice course to bridge the knowledge gap.
Conversion training is appropriate when:
- a trained individual needs to operate another type of lift truck, or handling attachment or
- the truck type does not change, but the size and weight alters significantly i.e. a larger or more powerful truck of the same category
What does it cover?
Conversion courses should include:
- Different operating characteristics from one machine type to another
- Handling of loads
- Longitudinal and lateral stability
- Any variations in controls
- Testing on their ability to operate the new truck
It should be said that, though conversion training can and does save businesses time and money, it should not be seen as a way to cut corners. As L117 states, “Approach conversion training with the same attention to detail as basic training so that all gaps in and variants on existing skills and knowledge are covered during training.”
It should also be followed by specific job and familiarisation training, as per a basic course, and adequate records kept, to ensure you’re are complying with the requirements set out in ACOP, L117.
Save time & money; stay compliant
Trained, experienced operators can convert from counterbalance or reach to almost any other type of rider lift truck, and the benefits of doing so can be huge.
For example, a conversion from a reach truck to an articulated truck would take an operator just one day, rather than 3. So not only would training take a third of the time, since many providers charge day rates, you would only pay a third of the cost.
And because you’re supplementing their existing skills and knowledge and following the guidelines set out in L117, you can rest assured you’re still meeting your legal requirements.
So train smarter – find out more about how you can save time and money while staying compliant by contacting us today.