more oversight needed
Re: "who's overseeing the trainers?" (October 2007)
As a trainer of forklift operators, I could not concur more with the article. I constantly work with operators and companies whose previous training was conducted by an alleged "trainer" who simply played a video and administered a written test, then informed the operators that they were now "certified."
Over the years, I have worked with approximately 3,000 operators. Rarely have I been asked for my credentials or proof that the training I provide meets OSHA and workplace requirements.
Trainers have to do more than just read PowerPoint slides or show videos. Those may be convenient tools, but they do not constitute proper training. Instead, we have to address all the issues that drivers face in the workplace, including complacency, failure to pay attention, and the fact that people often take short cuts in order to make their jobs easier, which often has disastrous consequences. We have to make the operators understand not only what the rules are; but how and why it benefits them to adhere to these rules.
Too many companies and too many managers fail to support training and proper operations; they fail to properly train and evaluate operators; they fail to enforce the rules of proper operation; and they often fail to properly train pedestrians in the workplace. This is more than evident in that during the past couple of years, we have seen an increase of approximately 15 percent in the number of people killed by falling loads or struck by equipment. This needs to stop.
Douglas D. Conley, Training Department, Florida Lift Systems Inc.
Your story on forklift training brings to light the dire need for licensing and/or certification requirements in this field. Too many businesses try the in-house "train the trainer" approach to save money, or think they can have another operator "show" the new person how to work a piece of equipment. That's not only a huge liability, but the latter is also illegal, according to OSHA.
When it comes to forklift training, it's in the company's best interest to use an experienced outside forklift safety trainer. Hiring an outside party assures that all procedures will be documented and that an unbiased observer makes the pass/fail determinations. Training is available at competitive rates, so price should not be the primary consideration in choosing a trainer. As you stated, it's more important to look for a high-quality training program and proof positive that the trainer knows what he's doing.
I have been with a Toyota dealership for 20 years, hold a Gold Level Master Technician status, and have been a service manager for nine years. During that time, I have witnessed various types of accidents, including some that resulted in injury and death, and looked into all the possible causes. Even so, I still feel that I would personally benefit from having some type of training certification from the government or the state.
Dusten Warren, Forklift Operator Training Department, Southern States Toyotalift
strength in numbers
Thanks for the article in support of software user groups in the August issue. I think they are very effective at getting needed changes through the IT bureaucracy. It works in our case like calling your congressman—if he/she gets enough calls, sooner or later he/she will take notice and hopefully make the needed changes.
Stuart Koehler, First Supply LLC
I read with interest Peter Bradley's very fine account of the logistical complexities surrounding the delivery of the latest Harry Potter phenomenon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Hats off to the wizards that pulled it off: J.B. Hunt, Combined Express, Yellow Transportation, and ActivAir. I was disappointed, however, that there was no mention of the all-important last mile in the delivery chain. On July 21, thousands of U.S. Postal Service employees delivered more than a million Harry Potter books to the homes of happy, mostly young customers.
Their "job well done" should not go unnoticed.
Joanne B. Giordano, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, U.S. Postal Service