The ultimate forklift operator training guide

ultimate guide to forklifts

PD Training provides RTITB accredited forklift truck training across the UK. Our training is for existing warehouse teams or candidates who are looking to build their forklift operating career. Our training is conducted on the company premises or at one of our fully equipped training centres nationwide.

Why is forklift certification required

Forklift trucks are used in many industries and have a significant impact in efficiency in the workplace. Many construction workers or warehouse employees will operate a forklift throughout their career and training ensures that these workers are fit and capable of operating the machinery.

There are many benefits to forklift training including:

  • Reduce the risk of accidents and injury – Forklifts are dangerous when operated without proper training so training every employee reduces the risk of injury in the workplace.
  • Increase machine life – When your equipment is properly services and maintained, the machine life will be extended.
  • Reduce inventory loss – Inexperienced forklift operators may damage goods as well as the machine they are using.

Operator responsibility

A forklift operator is responsible for ensuring that all forklift movements are conducted safely. A forklift is a very powerful vehicle when the operator is fully trained, and it is easy for operators to become complacent in their work routine. It is the operators responsibility to not make bad decisions that they could regret later, so always use your best judgement. If you as an operator ever feel there is anything wrong with your vehicle or working conditions, you must notify your employer or supervisor immediately.

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The benefits of earning a forklift certification

Companies across the UK are always hiring forklift truck drivers and the job demand is ever-increasing. If you are looking to kick start your career operating forklifts, earning the relevant certification could help you get your foot in the door.

The main benefit of the certification is that it would always move with you, wherever you decide to take your career. You could take your skills and credentials to a different workplace that offer a higher pay rate, or more benefits as you gain more experience over time. An RTITB accredited licence holds a lot of value when you are looking for forklift jobs and provides candidates with a clear record of what was covered in their training, and that it took place in a suitable location.

Forklift Operator Requirements


Most trainers won’t train anyone under the age of 17, and most employers won’t employ drivers under 18 due to limitations in place due to the weight of forklifts they are operating. 

Medical Fitness

Forklift drivers and operators need to have the appropriate medical fitness level for the work they are expected to undertake. 

It is good practice for all operators to be screened for fitness before employment and at regular intervals. 

Normal levels of fitness required by forklift operators are:

General – Operators should have full movement of the trunk, neck, limbs and normal agility.

Vision – Operating a lift truck depends on good judgement of space and distance and this required effective use of both eyes. Distance vision should be of the same standard for driving a car on public roads.

Hearing – The ability to hear instructions and warning signals is important, although a risk assessment can be taken to determine if deafness does not constitute a hazard. 

An experienced worker who loses a lib can retrain, but a stable disposition is required. An individual who is dependant on alcohol or non-prescribed drugs should not be employed as a lift truck operator.

Driving License

You don’t need to hold a valid UK driving license to operate a forklift truck unless you need to drive the forklift on public roads or highways.

How long does forklift certification last?

Officially there is no set time limit to renew your forklift training, however it is recommended training is taken every 3 years. This ensures that operators are always up to date with the latest technology and they can be reminded of vital safety procedures that keep your workplace safe and compliant.

Forklift refresher training is recommended where operators:

  • completed their previous training 3-5 years ago
  • have not used trucks for some time
  • are occasional users
  • appear to have developed unsafe working practices
  • have had an accident, or a near miss
  • have a change to their working practices or environment
ultimate guide to forklift training

What forklift training do we offer?

Here at PD Training, we use RTITB registered instructors and examiners. All of our instructors have undergone a course in instructional techniques and are able to provide evidence of their registration with the RTITB.

Our RTITB forklift courses include:

The types of forklift training available

Here at PD Training, we provide training for all skills levels on all types of forklift trucks. This includes novices, semi-experienced operators, refresher courses, and conversion courses. We can even tailor the training to you or your company.

This forklift operator training manual is created to help answer all your questions around the various types of forklifts and courses.

Novice Courses:

(5 day course) Novice courses are ideal for any total beginner using their first forklift truck, and has no previous experience of Materials Handling Equipment.

Experienced Courses:

(3 day course) Experienced courses are designed for a forklift truck operator who has an extensive amount of experience; at least 12 months, however holds no current certification and has had no formal training.

Refresher Courses:

(1 day course) Suited for the operators who are trained and certified, the refresher course allows them to take a test to renew their licence. Forklift certifications are valid for 3 years.

Conversion Course:

This course is suited for operators who are trained and certified on certain forklifts. The conversion course allows them to expand their forklift licences on other types of trucks.

Most popular forklift courses

Counterbalance forklift

The counterbalance forklift is the most common truck in use today. It allows the operator to manoeuvre up to the load they are moving and it can be used indoors and outdoors.

They are a large capacity vehicle that on average can carry between 1.8T to 48T, which is why they are used so frequently and for a wide variety of operations. They also run on a variety of fuel types making the forklift so versatile.

Operator experience Course duration Number of delegates
Novice 3 to 5 days 3 maximum
Experienced 2 to 3 days 3 maximum
Refresher 1 day 3 maximum
Conversion 1 day 3 maximum

Pivot steer

The pivot steer forklift truck is often referred to as a ‘bendi’ or ‘flexi’ truck. The machine is suited to working in tight and narrow environments. 

Pivot steer lift trucks combine the roles of a counterbalance forklift and a narrow aisle truck. They use an articulated mast system that can be steered 180 degrees to access racking systems. They can be used indoors and outdoors.

Operator experience Course duration Number of delegates
Novice 3-5 days 3 maximum
Experienced 2 to 3 days 3 maximum
Refresher 1 day 3 maximum
Conversion 1 or 2 days 3 maximum

Reach truck

Reach trucks focus on height rather than weight and can extend forwards, allowing the operator to pick up and deposit loads at height. They are a very common forklift in warehouse settings and are designed to give excellent manoeuvrability in limited space.

Operator experience Course duration Number of delegates
Novice 3 to 5 days 3 maximum
Experienced 2 to 3 days 3 maximum
Refresher 1 day 3 maximum
Conversion 1 or 2 days 3 maximum

Why choose on-site forklift training?

We provide nationwide forklift training onsite at your company’s location. On-site training allows our accredited trainers to conduct training around your working schedule, it also helps individuals to be trained on the vehicles they will be using in their daily working environment. This allows the training to be tailored to you, on the actual equipment and types of loads that you will be using.

Get your forklift certification

Getting your certification is the first step. OSHA standards require forklift training and certification for any employee who operates a powered truck industrial truck.

Why use PD Training?

We provide accredited training nationwide with a number of benefits!

  • 100% pass rate
  • RTITB accredited trainers
  • Competitive pricing
  • A flexible and relaxed approach while ensuring the highest quality of training
  • 5* reviews
  • Bespoke options available

Thinking of learning a new skills, starting a new career or refreshing your forklift license? Contact us today or view our range of forklift training and discuss your requirements.


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