What is a Forklift Operator?
Forklift Operators play a crucial role in the smooth running of business operations. Whether it be operating depots, warehouses, yards, ports or airports - without Forklift Operators goods and deliveries would not be loaded, unloaded, moved or stored, and as result, the production of a business would stop.
What is a Forklift Licence?
To be able to operate a forklift, a forklift licence is required. Technically however, there is no such thing as a forklift ‘licence’ but a lot of the time it is commonly referred to as that. In actual fact, when you are qualified you will receive a Certificate to show to your employer. Some people simply call the Certificate a Licence.
Every employer has a responsibility under Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), to ensure staff have adequate training before they use work equipment. Although there is no official ‘licence’ the 1974 Safety and Work Act states: “The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all his employees.” Which indicates that employers have a legal responsibility to ensure safety at work.
Aside from the fact it reduces these type of incidents and the probability of potintal accidents, having a forklift licence also enables you to drive a forklift in a safe, competent and efficient way. It also shows any potential employer that you have the relevant skills and qualifications needed for potential job opportunities or promotion.
Remember - Forklift trucks have the potential to injure or kill people if operated by employees who are not competent to do so.
Anyone aged 17 or more with good co-ordination and the skills required to drive a car (although you don't have to have a car licence) are eligible to apply for a forklift licence.
To acquire a forklift licence, or a RTITB recognised certificate of forklift training you will be required to attend a forklift training course.
A forklift training course covers, but is not limited to, the following areas:
Lift truck controls and instruments
Starting/moving/stopping and steering the truck
Operation of hydraulic controls
On/off ramp driving
Vehicle loading and unloading
Stacking and destacking
Lift truck stability
The operators’ safety code
A forklift training course will give you the skills to operate a forklift safely and efficiently, carry out a pre-use inspection, and recall and explain the causes of truck and load instability.
While not mandatory, it is also recommended that forklift training refreshers are completed every 3 years once you have received your forklift licence / certificate.
When you are qualified you will receive a Certificate to show to your employer. Some people simply call the Certificate a Licence.
You do not need a car driving licence to use a forklift.
Anyone aged 17 or more can learn to operate a forklift truck (no driving licence required).
The price you pay will be determined by the course you are looking to take which can range from £200 to £700 depending on course status.
Yes, but only if you are still training for your qualification.
There isn't a technical expiry date however, it is recommended that you take refresher training every 3 years after receiving your licence and qualification.
There is not a specific rule requiring forklifts to have seat belts. However, it is highly advised that forklift operators should wear a seatbelt at all times.
There are no set job requirements to be able to drive a forklift, however, operators should be physically robust and fit because operating forklifts demands strength and effort. Above all else, awareness of health and safety should be mandatory.