As often as we refer to companies as a collective, every company is composed of individuals. Each employee brings their own strengths and weaknesses to the table, which can either build up or tear down the whole. Providing every individual with the skills they need to succeed ensures that the entire company succeeds with them.
This is the mindset behind company-wide training—not to eliminate individuality but to set up both the company and its employees for success. It’s just one of the benefits of company-wide forklift training.
Types of Forklift Training
Forklift training comes in a variety of categories, and to get the most benefit from your company-wide forklift training, you will need to decide which training will best suit your company’s needs.
As the name suggests, operator training teaches employees how to operate a forklift safely. OSHA breaks forklifts into several classifications, and training sessions often focus on specific classes of forklifts.
- Class I: Covers electric rider and counterbalanced lift trucks common in warehouses.
- Class II: Covers electric forklifts that navigate narrow aisles, such as order picker and side loader forklifts.
- Class IV: Covers internal combustion forklifts with solid or cushion tires.
- Class V: Covers internal combustion forklifts with pneumatic cushion tires.
- Class VII: Covers pneumatic tire forklifts for outdoor use.
Along with how to use the forklift itself, operator training also provides useful insights into safety skills and OSHA standards.
Refresher training covers the material one finds in operator training. The difference is in the goal. Refresher training focuses on refreshing an operator’s knowledge of information they already know rather than teaching them new information.
Supervisor training is similar to refresher training but caters to supervisors or those who run forklift training courses. It also ensures that supervisors know any updated OSHA regulations regarding forklift safety and new certification policies.
Pedestrian training takes the focus off the operators directly and places it on the pedestrians who work around them. Pedestrian training teaches employees how to anticipate the movements of forklifts and understand what a forklift operator sees from the cabin. This training helps pedestrians be proactive in avoiding accidents.
Benefits for the Company
OSHA standards mandate that no employee operates a forklift without sufficient training based on an operator’s previous experience, the hazards present in the workplace, and the types of forklifts the company uses. Instituting company-wide forklift training eliminates the possibility of not being OSHA-compliant, preventing your company from incurring lawsuits or fines of $5,000-$7,000.
Decreased Forklift Downtime
Every year, forklift downtime costs companies a significant amount of money, between the cost of repairs, the time lost to repair the machine, and the blow to employee focus and morale. One of the most common causes of machines going down is operators not using the equipment correctly or causing accidents. Company-wide forklift training ensures that every operator understands how to drive safely, thus reducing downtime.
Improved Machine Maintenance
There is more to using a forklift well than knowing how to operate it. Forklift training will also offer employees a standard for maintaining the machinery, such as refueling practices, inspection guidelines, and best practices for changing tires and fluids. Improved maintenance helps decrease downtime and increase the longevity of your entire forklift fleet.
Greater Variety of Machinery Used
Depending on your warehouse, you may need to use forklifts from different classes, like classes II and IV. While you can train individual employees to use individual machines, training the entire company to use all of them will allow your company to get the most out of its machinery, no matter who is on the schedule for the day.
In 1913, Henry Ford introduced the world to the assembly line. The concept centered on the idea that if workers followed the same plan, they could complete work more quickly and efficiently. One of the benefits of company-wide training for forklifts is that it gives employees the same plan. Every individual knows how a forklift should run and how to work when they’re near a forklift. This eliminates confusion and maximizes efficiency.
Benefits for Workers
Naturally, safety is one of the topics one might expect to cover in forklift training. Knowing how to operate a forklift correctly immediately increases the safety of those using it, as does learning specific safety skills like the stability triangle. Company-wide training also helps establish a standard for traffic control in your warehouse to avoid collisions between forklifts.
But forklift training also increases the safety of those not using the forklift. Pedestrian training enables those working around the forklift to be more aware of the machinery as well as the best ways to avoid them safely.
Reduce Occupational Injuries
Reducing safety hazards invariably leads to a decrease in occupational injuries. But accidents are not the only source of occupational injuries forklift operators may face. Habits like dismounting from a forklift incorrectly or sitting with bad posture in a forklift for extended periods also contribute. Forklift training can provide operators insights on how to avoid habits that will lead to injury.
Expanded Work Opportunities
Widespread forklift training may focus on the company, but it enriches individual employees too. Expanding their skillsets equips employees to perform a wider variety of tasks and positions. That way, if they want to expand their current position or take on a position as a trainer, they have that option. And if they leave the company, they have a greater number of skills to take to the job market.
The idea of company vision is often reduced to a saying that companies paint on a wall. But having a vision is less about an expression and more about a sense of unified purpose toward a common goal. Company-wide training can help keep employees grounded in a central vision. Additionally, the shared experience of going through the same training can establish camaraderie among employees.
Company-wide training keeps companies strong. Toyota Material Handling offers quality forklift safety training to keep your employees safe and growing professionally.