Forklift Licence Requirements UK

Material Handling Training Courses

To be able to operate a forklift, a forklift licence is required. Although there is no such thing as an actual forklift ‘licence,’ workers that handle forklifts must have the correct and relevant certification to legally handle the lift truck in your workplace, and that certification is often referred to as a licence.

Forklift operators play a vital role in the smooth running of business operations in many businesses and organisations across the world. They move goods and deliveries and are most commonly used in depots, warehouses, ports, airports and yards.

The 1974 Health and Safety at work act states that:

“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.” 

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that any person working on their premises has the most relevant and up to date training available in their role. Ensuring staff and lift truck operators are fully trained reduces work accidents and incidents and keeps the work envirnoment and those working in it safe.

Requirements operators must meet to operate a forklift truck

Anyone aged 17 or over can train to handle a forklift truck. You do not need to have a driving licence to apply for forklift training. The licences are linked to the weight of the vehicle, the fact the forklift can be very heavy and lifts heavy loads, therefore some businesses may put futher restrictions around age limitations if they feel it is appropriate.

Forklift operators must be healthy and well enough to operate lift trucks, as they are potentially dangerous and could cause harm to the drivers or others. It may be some employers ask for a medical before an employee begins working with lift trucks.

Potential lift-truck operators should:

  • If you can’t physically do the job, your employer may need to assess your ability to do it. In some cases, your employer may need medical advice or may need to adjust the work to make you able to do it with a lift truck. The Equality Act 2010 may apply in some circumstances.
  • Be reasonably fit, physically and mentally and able to control and operate lift trucks
  • Have the learning ability to become competent operators
  • Be over the minimum school leaving age of 16, except in ports where they must be 18. Children under 16 should never operate a lift truck

As an employer, you are legally required to consult employees on health and safety matters, including ways to provide information and training efficiently.

Can a forklift operator drive a forklift without a driver’s license?

Operators don’t need a car driving licence to drive a forklift truck, however it is cruical that your employees have proper certified forklift truck training which is accredited by a governing body like RTITB or AITT. Employers should ensure that all staff are trained fully and kept up to date where required.

On-site forklift licence training UK

PD Training delivers professional accredited forklift training in the safe operation and driving of a range of material handling equipment including forklifts like counterbalance forklifts, access platforms like cherry pickers and scissor lifts and telescopic handlers.

We train on most makes and models to business across the UK, as well as offering conversion courses from one forklift to another.

We are available across the whole of the UK, travelling to your site to deliver on-site training to your operators.

For more information, contact us on 01344 830015 to discuss your forklift licence requirements with our friendly customer service team.


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