Understanding the different types of forklift training

forklift training the types of forklift

The forklift is a fundamental tool in a number of industries. While many people understand the basics of how they’re used, there are many types of forklift available for a variety of functions.

In this blog, we will walk you through the features, capabilities and hazards associated with various types of forklifts, and the forklift training options available to you or your team.

Understanding the different types of forklift truck

There are currently seven distinct forklift classifications. These include:

  • The type of engine
  • Type of carriage
  • Type of forks
  • The jobs the forklift is suitable for
  • How the forklift is operated
  • The environment the forklift will be used, for example, indoors or outdoors

forklift training

Knowing the different classifications aids operators to know with truck is right for the job in hand.

Class 1

Electric motor rider forklifts that are the best option for loading and unloading trailers, handling pallets and other indoor tasks. You often see class 1 lift trucks in food storage, retail, factory and general warehousing job sites.

Class 2

Electric motor narrow isle forklifts that are also called reach trucks or order pickers, designed to manoeuvre in tight spaces

Class 3

Electric pallet jacks, stackers and tow tractors. These are good for unloading deliveries and moving loads where they can then be handled by other types of forklifts.

Class 4

Internal combustion cushion tyre forklifts, designed for indoor use and provide a smooth ride on indoor surfaces and can’t be punctured.

Class 5

Internal combustion pneumatic tire forklifts are used outdoors instead of inside.

Class 6

Electric/IC engine tow tractors are often used for towing loads rather than lifting. They are often used at airports and assembly lines.

Class 7

Rough terrain forklifts. These have large, tractor-style tires for outdoor use in rough terrain. They are often the popular choice used at lumber yards and construction sites to lift building materials to above-ground work sites.

Electric and internal combustion engines

Forklifts are powered by two types of engine, electric and internal combustion (IC).

The type of power source required is a vital factor in what forklift is appropriate for a job as each engine is suited for different types of work environments and tasks.

Electric forklifts have many advantages. They are quieter than IC engines and don’t emit harmful emissions which makes them the perfect choice for indoor use and areas with bad ventilation. They also require less maintenance in general and tend to have fewer repairs making them more cost effective in the long run. They can be more expensive to buy, and when the battery runs down, they can take a long time to recharge.

IC forklifts can run on diesel, gasoline or propane and are more powerful than their battery powered counterparts. They are able to carry heavier loads and are built to withstand bad conditions. They can also be quickly refuelled, however the maintenance costs tend to be higher, and they do release harmful emissions which requires ventilation when used indoors.

Which type of forklift is right for the job?

Key factors to assess when choosing a forklift include:

  • Capacity – always ensure a forklift’s maximum lifting capacity is appropriate for the job
  • Weight – ensure the ground can handle a forklift’s weight
  • Height – ensure the forklift can pass through doors and openings across your workspace
  • Fuel type – Determine if the forklift will be used indoors/outdoors or in small or open spaces
  • Terrain – ensure the forklift can be used safely on the ground you will be working on

Requirements for lift truck training

Forklifts are found in most warehouses, distribution centres and construction sites. These vehicles are an extremely important element of function and the safest and quickest way to move heavy loads.

It’s important that any person operating a forklift is appropriately trained and holding a current forklift licence or certification. Operator training provides key insights into not only how to drive and operator the vehicle but also how to prevent accidents.

A trained forklift driver ensures they can operate the forklift safely and and for the tasks they were designed for.

Forklift trucks have the potential to injure or kill people if operated by employees that are not fully trained, therefore accredited training courses in the appropriate vehicle keeps not only workers safe from harm, but also your workplace health and safety compliant.

Here at PD Training, we provide forklift training courses and refresher training from your workplace or in training centres across the uk. Our forklift courses allow our customers peace of mind, knowing their workforce is trained to the highest standard.


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