At Industrial Safety Training, "We start with a theory portion at your location on the safe operation of the forklift(s), which takes approximately 1.5 hours," says Anne Reed, Victoria Industrial Safety Training, "We then go to the lift truck and go through a pre-shift inspection of the equipment. I then set up a course using pylons for the operator’s practical tests.
"I have them pick up and deposit pallets throughout the test. If there is no space to set up an obstacle course, I make do with the space they have. The length of the practical test is typically 10 minutes per person, but that always depends on just how experienced they are."
Most of the training Reed does is throughout Lower Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland. "I occasionally go to Smithers, Prince George, Kelowna, Kamloops, Parksville and Campbell River. Most of the operators I instruct are experienced forklift operators. I do teach from scratch the operation of Class 4 and 5 sit-down forklifts only, which takes a full day."
Forklift Classifications with Training under Victoria Industrial Safety Training
Class I: Electric Motor Rider Trucks
Class II: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
Class III: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks
Class IV: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)
Class V: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)
Class VII: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
"I train on all types of forklifts, focusing on the safe operation, providing proof of training through test results and certification." Reed's career in safety training to the WorkSafeBC regulations began in the late 90’s.
She says, "I had been a customer service representative for a forklift sales and service company in the Lower Mainland. In 1998 WorkSafeBC announced that all forklift operators must go through safety training and show proof of training.
"I was told by my boss I was to become an instructor, so I was put through the instructor training program. I wasn't happy at first, I had more hours on the job including Saturdays. Public speaking was something I wasn't used to, in fact I was quite nervous about it, but it was now part of my job, so I had to just suck it up and do it.
"Eventually I left that company and went to another; when they found out I knew the drill on forklift safety training, I taught again. I persevered and picked up this training ability in Greater Vancouver."
Reed began to think about going on her own, "I went on my own 20 years ago and it was a tough go at the beginning, but soon I was training more and more clients from across the province. Meanwhile, Victoria is my hometown and I had a chance to build the business on the island because of the growth here, also independent instructors are in short supply. I moved back home."
Traveling to training assignments around the island or province is no problem, "Depending on the numbers of students or companies I may or may not charge for travelling expenses. What I try to do is instruct classes for several companies within a certain number of days to make it cost effective."
The level of training is varied and thus the amount of time it takes to certify an employee or group of employees also varies. "The theory portion is delivered in a classroom setting and runs for an hour and a half. We then go to the forklift and go over a pre-shift inspection of the equipment. If it's a Rough Terrain forklift the participants must do a site inspection as well.
"Typically, you’ll find me training in warehouses, lumber yards, production sites, distribution outlets, manufacturing plants and the Canadian Coast Guard. I typically evaluate experienced operators. When it comes time to do the practical operational test it takes approximately 10 minutes per person. With clip board in hand, I evaluate their skills and give demerits when they do a no no.
"Now I know I'm supposed to stand by silently and let them pass or fail on each individual evaluation, but I am not a machine. Sometimes I interact and correct them when they make mistakes. Companies want efficiencies in personnel, time and money and they want to comply in the regulatory environment." There are times when Reed is found to suggest further practice for an employee before testing is conducted.
Companies enrolling employees with the safety training program receive the paperwork, showing test results, theory and practical, as well as a list of operator’s names and certification numbers. In other words, proof of training. Employees do need to be certified on a recurring basis. This course is for companies that want to be WorkSafeBC compliant."
Small classes of 1 to 8 can take 3 to 4 hours to complete, but the more operators the longer the day can be. However, if there is a large group with more than one forklift, two experienced operators can be tested at a time. This speeds the process so there is less down time for the company's workers.
"Let’s face it, time is money! Also, once an operator has completed their practical test, they can get right back to work. I do training from scratch on Class 4 and 5 only, which takes a full day.”
Regarding the demographic of the students, the sky is the limit. I believe the youngest I have had in a class is 18, the oldest 70. I have had people from all ethnic backgrounds in my classes, men and women," says Reed. "I am working year-round with a couple of down times, typically Christmas and sometimes a lag in summer. Most of work is done in Greater Victoria and on the Lower Mainland."
The types of forklifts can be anything from Class 1 through 7, excluding Class 6. These classes include equipment such as Stand-up Counterbalance, Reach Trucks, Order Pickers, Rider and Walkie Power Jacks, Sit-down Propane and Sit-down Electric. Also included are Vertical Mast, Truck Mounted and Variable Reach (Zoom Boom) Rough Terrain Forklifts.
Each successful operator receives a certificate of completion, both wall and wallet size.
"I do on-site training, which means I go to companies and job-sites and train and certify the employees using their equipment. I stay up to date with WorkSafeBC regulations, and I may attend a couple of safety seminars a year.
“Forklift operators need to go through safety training and it’s a niche I was meant for.
I love this career! I meet people from all different walks of life, and I get to see what goes on behind the scenes. "
Anne Reed, Owner, Victoria Industrial Safety Training