Laura Nelson, managing director for RTITB, says that, recently, the workplace transport training body has “seen several cases” where agency workers or temporary employees have been involved in accidents, many of which “could have potentially been avoided if employers were more diligent about training”.
The body references health and safety data that half of fatal accidents in the workplace happen during a worker’s first 10 days on site, with half of these occurring on their very first day.
New starters, whether they are agency workers or expected to be on-site for only a short period of time, are vulnerable to greater risk due to a lack of experience and familiarity, RTITB adds.
Nelson continues: “Whether an operator is on site for one day as a temporary employee or longer as a permanent team member, employers must make sure that they undergo suitable and sufficient specific and familiarisation training for the machine type they are required to operate and have the evidence to prove it.
“It’s also important to assess the practical skill level of new starters and monitor their performance closely – not all Material Handling Equipment training is created equal so remedial training might be needed to fill knowledge gaps and correct bad habits. This is where correct management and supervision plays an extremely important role.
“To comply with legislation such as PUWER, not only must employers make sure that MHE operators are correctly trained, but also that managers and supervisors have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety.”