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As a trainer, I always try to be mindful of the experience level of the operators, but many experienced operators feel as if they can’t learn anything new. We can all take this blog post as a lesson to fully engage and be willing to learn


            Safety On The Move (SOTM), a power point slide show, is a serious training.  For many experienced operators, the classroom portion of the training can be a bit tedious.  Many seasoned operators feel as if they can’t learn anything new based on the information that is being presented.  The power point presentation is a slide show based on seven modules all based around fundamental forklift safety.  There is another module, 8, that involves the operational portion of SOTM.  As a trainer, I always try to be mindful of the stamina of the operators.  If there are several operators that have extensive experience, I will amend some parts of the training.  I tailor the training to fit the needs of the room.  The flexible approach has allowed me to have conversations that may extend beyond the scope of SOTM but are relative to the professionalism of the position.  Operators appreciate the flexibility approach because stories are shared that can assist the group in supporting the message of safety throughout the duration of the training.


I assume it’s difficult for any of us to deal with a disgruntled employee.  When I go into a facility for training I represent Arbor and not the customer who is outsourcing our SOTM program.  I often hear complaints from operators based on how systems are at the facility but there is nothing I can do about that.  A few weeks ago, I had a situation with a disgruntled employee that I had to deal with before training began.  The operator was upset with the fact that he sat in company orientation for a few hours and then had to participate in SOTM.  I let him know that I understood how he felt and I would try not to be too repetitive during SOTM.  He was very agitated and frustrated with the process.  He felt as if he didn’t need to sit through more videos and simply wanted to display his forklift operating skillset.  I did my best to ease his frustration and reduce his mental anxiety.


We got through the classroom portion in a timely and painless fashion and now it was time for the operational portion of SOTM.  This operator was confident in his abilities and assured me that he would have no problem passing the evaluation.  I reviewed the controls on the Reach Truck he would be operating and was ready for the evaluation.  I rarely micro-manage during the evaluation process, I want the operator to feel as comfortable as possible and simulate their daily job duties.   This operator began to simulate his duties and was doing well until it was time to lift a load out of a rack.  Instead of retracting the forks, he lifted the forks and in the process did major damage to the beam above.  I didn’t pause his process but I did take note and pointed out the damage when he placed the load back in the rack.  He claimed he didn’t realize it while in the evaluation process


When the evaluation was over, I mentioned the damage to the employer (It’s ultimately up to the discretion of the employer to certify drivers).  When I went back the next week the employer informed me that they let the operator go due to not disclosing the accident.  He was asked about the infraction and never mentioned it.  I encourage all operators to accept feedback and never think they know it all.  We can all take this as a lesson to fully engage and be willing to learn.  Repetition is the mother of all learning and no matter how experienced we think we are in a certain area, we should always remain open-minded and display humility.
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