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We wonder how much rough terrain forklift training operators at the recent Newlyn Fish Festival in Cornwall have under their belts. Why? Because an unsuspecting festival goer got the ride of her life when a forklift operator picked up the portable loo she was occupying and carried it clear across the other side of the harbour before setting it down. Remarkably, the woman was not injured in the incident.

According to news reports, the woman entered the loo at some point before the festival officially opened. A forklift operator arrived to move the facility without knowing the woman was inside. The problem is that forklifts usually move portable loos by picking them up from the rear, reducing the likelihood of spillage. There would be no way for a driver to notice the occupied sign without getting off the forklift truck and walking around to check. In this case, it is assumed the driver did not check because the festival had not yet opened.

The local harbourmaster said the woman was shocked but otherwise unharmed upon exiting the loo. Mark Kempthorne, the owner of the company that provided the loos, said this sort of thing happens more often than you think. He admitted to The Guardian that he has made the same mistake himself in the past.

Skill, Luck and a Little Bit of Karma

We can report this story with a slight amount of amusement because no one was hurt. However, think of the possible injuries that could have been sustained had the forklift operator not correctly lifted his load the first time, causing it to shift or fall. That also happens more often than people realise. In this case, it was a combination of skill, luck and a little bit of karma that prevented the victim from being injured.

What is especially impressive is that moving the structure did not occur in a warehouse with a smooth concrete floor and no obstructions. It was moved outdoors, across the grounds of the harbour. We have no way of knowing if the driver had ever undergone rough terrain forklift training, but if not, he did an outstanding job that resulted in no physical harm to the victim.

We Train Forklift Drivers

This interesting story notwithstanding, the HGV Training Centre offers forklift training alongside our training for lorries, buses, and other large commercial vehicles. Forklift training involves teaching students how to safely handle forklifts under normal and abnormal working conditions. Our rough terrain forklift training includes instruction for operating a forklift on uneven surfaces that can include parking lots, construction sites, and the like.

Employers should know that they are required to ensure the safety of their workers at all times, even though a forklift licence does not exist in the UK. That means training and certification are still a necessity. We invite you to contact us for more information or to learn how we can train your forklift operators safely, quickly, and affordably.


  1. The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/01/forklift-moves-portable-toilet-with-festivalgoer-inside


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