• Gail Swanepoel
    "A competent person is someone who has the appropriate skills, training, knowledge, and experience to perform the task or role."

    We know that it is vital to have the necessary knowledge, training, and experience to train others. There may be differing opinions on whether someone who is proficient in a specific area, such as operating a forklift, and that they should also understand the legislative changes (if any), evaluate risks, and how to implement safety measures when training others.

    In cases where a company might appoint an experienced forklift operator with a license as a competent trainer, bearing in mind that they only know what they know and sometimes they do what they have always done is this enough to ensure they are competent?

    What are your thoughts on this type of inhouse training?
  • Andy Huntley
    I would leave forklift training to an external accredited trainer for the basics. They will ensure the trainee gets the F endorsement on their licence and the forklift operator's certificate. There should then be a period of in-house evaluation to ensure that the staff member is both trained and competent to operate the forklift safely in the required environment. That part can be accommodated by your experienced forklift operator as long as the PCBU has satisfied itself that your experienced operator is competent to train. They are different skillsets.
  • Steve H
    Back in the day Gail (1992), when I made the move from working as a Service Technician maintaining and repairing battery electric forklifts and materials handling equipment, to setting up and managing a green fields plastic sheet extrusion and recycling company, I set up and ran my own "in house" forklift certification program.

    There was/is a Code Of Practice For Forklift Training Providers, there used to be lots of resources on the (then) Dept Of Labour website, and I had the resources gained from a number of manufacturer's courses and info- I did this because i had a certain amount of prior knowledge, a lot of time, limited financial resources and not a lot of people to train/maintain their skills.

    So long answer short, yes you could, but these days, I'd agree with Andy above, the externally sourced program has the benefit of your operators gaining an "F" endorsement, enabling them to drive on public roads (the definition of "public road might frighten you)
  • jason farrow
    inhouse trainers and assessors are great provided those that are appointed to that role have the extra training required to perform that task.
  • Matthew Bennett
    I've been watching (reading) this thread with interest as it pertains to a lot of areas beyond forklifts. Some good thoughts have been shared. Thank you to everyone who have contributed so far.

    In-house training has some immediate benefits: ease of access, flexibility and relevance to site / task specific conditions to name a couple. It also comes with some limitations and the legislative and regulatory requirements also need to be acknowledged.

    One criteria I place on any critical skills training, particular when they are signing a person off as competent (permission to undertake a task independently): the trainer must have externally verifiable expertise (greater than the organization they work for) in the skill / subject they are teaching AND as an educator. What this looks like in practice:
    • I'm engaging someone to teach workers to do roof work using a harness and rope / anchor system.
    • I want evidence that the trainer has expertise using these tools and systems in actual work e.g. have they worked in industrial rope access? Do they have any qualifications - IRATA or similar?
    • And are they a good educator e.g. hold a cert. in adult education?
    A lack of external verifiable expertise can result in a situation where 'we believe we are good because we said so ourselves' and / or we believe that people know how to perform a skill because we put them in front of trainer, however the training was ineffective at embedding the skill / knowledge / understanding.

    Obvioulsy, this is a high bar and needs to be applied proportionally.
  • Andrew
    Depends a bit on what you want to achieve.

    If you are just after an internally recognized "Certificate of Competence" kind of scrap of paper then the fact you have a Registered Instructor is a bit irrelevant. You'd just set up your own internal training.

    However if, (like me) you prefer an external independent assessment of competence of both theoretical and practical ability you would leave it to an external training provider. This way you get both a "F" endorsement for on road uses and the (mislabeled) OSH Operator Cert.

    To get the Operator Cert internally you would need to be prepared to consider and document Instructor / Trainee ratio's. The training facilities, Training aids, equipment needed, How long will the training be, draw up a syllabus, have an assessment process, then issue a certificate . Plus have some kind of moderation. And allow for people where english isn't the first language. And the training needs to be done by a Registered Instructor. Too much effort for me!

    The obvious shortcoming of the external assessment is the forklift operator gets signed off as competent. But it is on the Training Providers forklift in their environment - you still need to look at your forklift in your environment.
  • KeithH
    Hi @Gail Swanepoel,
    A difference exists between competent, certified and qualified.
    An educator needs to hold applicable qualifications, be certified to educate to a standard or level, and competent to apply their learned knowledge.
    Learners may optionally acquire specific qualifications, optionally be assessed as capable to a given standard, and practically demonstrate a level of competency by applying their learned knowledge while being observed by an educator or person with similar but greater experience.

    While a competent person may have knowledge, they may not have qualifications or assessed as certified.
    A person may gain qualifications or certification yet not achieve competency.

    Some activities can be taught by competent people who do not hold qualifications or certification.
    Other activities, and this will vary, legally require the person in the teaching position to hold a relevant qualification(s) or certification(s).
    In some cases, the need for qualification or certification is both recommended and advantageous.

    Gail, while the final recommendation is one only you can make, it maybe flavoured by legislative requirements and what risk the organisation is exposed to.

    My 2 cents worth again.
  • Gail Swanepoel
    Thank you for the explanation, this makes sense.
  • Darren Cottingham
    @Gail Swanepoel
    With the F endorsement, you only do it once, and as long as you renew it when you renew your driver licence, it stays with you forever - no point in sending people to do it for a refresher. There has been pressure to remove the F endorsement for years because it's basically pretty pointless - you can teach it in 10 minutes, and it's the kind of common sense you use when driving any vehicle on a road.
    In terms of the operator's certificate (or OSH certificate), there are two things to consider:
    Instructor-led training has some advantages - the instructor has had some kind of training to deliver this type of course and should be working from some kind of system. However, instructor bias is real. Language and literacy challenges make it very difficult for instructors and can impact other students. Not everyone learns at the same pace. Culturally, some people just won't put their hand up if they don't understand. You're using the training company's gear in their environment - might not be relevant for your environment. The trainee arrives back. You don't know what they've learned. Your supervisor is no wiser about how to ensure that that forklift operator continues to operate using best practices.
    Online + internal assessment: training is consistent, the course can be done in your own time, watched again and again. If you have an internal assessor (e.g. supervisor) following a checklist, this can be tailored for the company's specific requirements using their gear, their SOPs, their loads, etc. Everyone understands the process better. There's literacy/language support. The downsides are that it doesn't suit people who hate online learning and you don't get the opportunity to ask questions. However, evidence suggests 20-60% better retention with online learning, so maybe it's worth persevering.
    Internal training: you can make up your own course. If it complies with the Approved Code of Practice you can do the whole thing internally, including the assessment. If you have someone experienced, this can be a great way of tailoring a course 100% to your operators and work requirements, but does take a bit of work.
    Bear in mind that any external training company is only responsible for the trainee while they are training them. Once they're back at your company, they're your responsibility again.
    There is no legal requirement to have a forklift trainer do your forklift training, unless it's F endorsement. And there's no point in paying for an F endorsement if you don't need it - you just make your employee more employable somewhere else.
    Disclaimer: we have 20 forklift trainers and an online course.
  • Muhammad Hafidz
    My company competency register classify technicians competency into these categories:

    1 = Under direct supervision, is not competent (under supervision all the time)
    2 = Under supervision, is partially competent (within supervisor's line of sight)
    3 = Indirect or occasional supervision, is partially competent (supervision available nearby)
    4 = Fully competent to work unsupervised
    5 = Competent to train (Trainer/Assessor)

    A verification of competency is done for young and mature workers, workers who just recovered from an incident related to the high risk activity and workers who have been highlighted by supervisors for job quality, safety etc.

    A verification of competency is done on site while the worker is performing the high risk job by a competent to train person. (some vital questions on the high risk job and emergency protocols etc)

    All of the workers must be trained according to NZQA standards as much as possible and attend refresher training very 2 years
  • Joe Boyle
    I would suggest that if you are building competency within your team to deliver your own training that you ensure those people are well trained to perform that role. As the saying goes "a good player does not always make a good coach". EMA has a great programme called 'Train the Trainer' specifically aimed at this group.
  • Lee Bird
    This is a topic that boils my barnacles a wee bit, ill try keep this short.

    We have forgotten what training and competency means and how it is assessed. Competency through apprenticeships is a blend of theory and time on the job, even the modern record keeping and task orientation requirements seem to have subsided.

    Roll on technology, the age of laziness.

    Companies pay for NZQA training, for all sorts of competencies from forklift to confined space, training providers too scared to fail a candidate. Or worse, now we can complete height safety and first aid online and somehow we are deemed competent. These are called refreshers, not as they should be "reassessments" on job observations pass fail shiny star or do it again.

    Too much emphasis on cost cutting and short cuts. Skillsets, quality and safety outcomes are suffering. I see it on projects up and down the country in tradespeople and operational staff.

    To become a trainer in house or otherwise "should" have a blend of "X" amount of years of experience based on demonstrated theory platforms and finished by an assessors course, 4098 or similar. Isnt this supposed to be a teaching or coaching or mentoring role?

    Thereafter an auditing and observation program in place from management to supervisor's to ensure the outcomes are consistent, or the person sent back for relevant training.

    This reliance on outsourcing training surely should only serve as a theory-based foundation, with the onus then being on the business to complete the training on in house systems by an in-house assessor on job.

    I asked about a Telehandler course recently, I cant do the theory without demonstrating 200 operational hours.

    What comes first the chicken or the egg?

    "Most" companies will not make the investment in a full-time trainer/assessor, despite the value in quality and safety across their company.

    There is far more to this including our broken education system where young ones have poor mathematical skills or severe literacy issues including legibility of writing.

    Sorry not short.
  • Lee Bird
    Correct sentiment Darren and I mostly agree with your statement. However, "And there's no point in paying for an F endorsement if you don't need it - you just make your employee more employable somewhere else." if every business did this, it would no longer matter.

    Thats why we were supposed to have a "Standard" of training, where everyone was expected to do the same thing towards our moral and legal duty owed under law.
  • Darren Cottingham
    The F endorsement simply tells you legal weights and measures based on the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass rule, the obligations for rego/CoF/WoF, plus sets out a scenario of loading across a pavement into a truck. This is all irrelevant for someone driving a forklift in a warehouse. It's been on the Minister's desk for 7 years while they debate removing it because it's so pointless. Now we're having a change of government, it's probably not going to happen. The same applies with wheels, tracks and rollers endorsements - pretty much pointless having them as it should be rolled into some competency-based training and you can then drive it on the appropriate class of driver licence (class 1 or 2 depending on the weight).
Add a Comment

Welcome to the Safeguard forum!

If you are interested in workplace health & safety in New Zealand, then this is the discussion forum for you.