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Disclaimer

The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

Answers to FAQ. Forklift operator training

faq answersThere is nothing laid down in law about this but the Approved Code of Practice states that "refresher training should be given". This is further reinforced in the Workplace Transport Regulations (2005) which can be downloaded here. For this reason, many employers arrange for refresher training and re-testing at somewhere between 3 and 5 year intervals. In the event of an accident the authorities would want to know when the operators involved were last trained and if that was a very long time ago, a court may deem that it has been too long and that refresher training should have been given. This link to the HSE web site explains their position on refresher training Back

There is no such thing as a licence to operate a fork lift! Many people refer to their certificate of basic training as a "licence" but this is not the case. The certificate that is issued to successful candidates after a training course is properly known as a "Certificate of Training" and is usually accepted as proof that the holder has attended an accredited training course and passed the fork lift test. Many people think it is like a car licence but this is not the case and never has been. Back

First, it is not proof of basic training as required by law. The legislation requires that companies give written authority for people to operate trucks on their premises. Training companies often supply these cards, which people tend to call "permits", to facilitate them doing this. In addition, its easier to carry around than the larger A4 size certificate. If you are on the NORS register you will automatically get one of these Back

The training company involved may supply a replacement certificate if requested but you should be aware that they do not have to. If you are registered with the NORS scheme you should contact the RTITB for information Back

A difficult question which requires a little common sense to answer. If the new truck is only a little bigger than the one on which a person was trained and providing the control layout is not too different then the answer is normally yes. If in doubt it is advisable to arrange for a short course of conversion or familiarisation training to take place. Back

No. You must take a further course of training and be tested on a reach truck. This is also true for any other sort of machine such as order picker, pallet truck etc. Back 


The certificate of basic training is recognised as proof that a person has attended an approved course and passed the practical and written tests. For this reason most prospective employers will accept it as long as it is not too old. It should be noted that they don't have to however. Back

This is a very complicated subject. For a complete write up on this click here Back

It depends on the type of truck and the application into which it is put. As a general rule, seatbelts must be worn on most counterbalanced trucks. Click here for full details of this subject. Back

There are two cases where a one day course would suffice. The first is for previously trained operators who are in need of refresher training. This would have a maximum of three persons attending. The other occasion where one day would be sufficient is where one experienced operator is in need of formal training and testing. The RTITB approve a course of 7 hours duration for this type of candidate. All training should meet with the minimum accredited recommended training durations as described elsewhere on this site Back

The standard novice course is 5 days in duration with 3 persons attending, 4 days for 2 persons and 3 days for just one person. Back

A safety refresher course for existing users is usually 2 or 3 days duration depending upon the number attending the course. Back

One day with a maximum of 3 persons attending. Back

It helps to some extent in as much as your perception of distances and the like will be probably be better than a non car driver. You should however, be aware that the rear wheel steering on a fork lift can actually cause confusion for car drivers! Back

Yes. Under sections 7 and 8 of the Health and Safety at Work Act all employees are responsible for the health and safety of themselves and of other persons. In addition they have a legal duty to co-operate with the employer as far as health and safety is concerned. Employees can face court proceedings for a breach of Health and Safety rules. Back

A large number of laws apply to employers the most important of which is the Health and safety at Work Act. Employers must take all steps which are "reasonable and practicable" to ensure the safety of their employees. Back

We all get "unlucky" from time to time. If you do have an accident your employer can be prosecuted for failing to provide adequate training. Back

There are a few accrediting bodies of which the RTITB is the most well known because it was the first to exist back in 1972. ITSSAR is an accrediting body too and all such bodies should use the same training course content and the same test. Back

All approved training companies must be registered with an accrediting body and have their courses approved by them. The HSE authorities recognise that training conducted by an accredited training company will normally be conducted to the highest standard although there are several "cowboy" training companies around who cut corners in order to reduce prices. These should obviously be avoided and you can phone the accrediting body to establish if the course you are being offered actually complies with requirements. Back

Yes. You should report it to your immediate supervisor who will take the appropriate action. Under the RIDDOR regulations even "near misses" should be reported. Back

 In theory yes but you must not claim that you are accredited to do this work. Since most companies are likely to require accredited training from an outside source its unlikely that you would be asked. You can. of course, train at another branch of the company where you are employed. Back

Yes. After five years as a maximum but earlier is recommended if possible due to changes in legislation that occurs from time to time. Back


Every time you make a mistake during your test you incur penalty points. At the end of the test these are added together and you must not score more than 40. 41 points is a failure. Back

Normally it is the operators job and this should be done either at the start of every working day or the start of each shift in multi-shift applications. Some companies have a different arrangement and if this is the case you should obviously comply with this. Back

Yes but don't worry if English is not your first language. Just mention it to your instructor and you will be given the questions orally. Five questions require written answers and twenty are multiple choice. You have to get 80% to pass. You can take a sample test here. Back

Sometimes, because of obstructions and the like, the course cannot be built exactly as before and therefore you may see a "mirror image" of it. The actual test however is the same. Back

Yes. Your training is not fully completed until you have completed all three stages of training as described in the Approved Code of Practice . Back

No. because of the way trucks are tested for stability, 3 wheel trucks are just as stable as 4 wheelers. So long as you obey the rules taught in training they are perfectly stable. Back

Transport accidents are one of the most common types in industry and on average there are thousands of fork lift accidents with 12 fatal ones in the UK every year. (It should be noted that in the year ending April 2013 there were only six fatal forklift accidents in the U.K. A record low). Back

They are many and varied but two stand out. Lack of all round observation and falling from height. Trucks overturning are easily the most scary and dangerous for the operator. Back

Yes and you also should have regular check ups when you reach the age of 45 and at certain other times. For more advice on the medical requirements for fork lift truck operators click here . Back

The Health and safety Executive no longer "approves" accrediting bodies like it used to. The various accrediting bodies dealing with forklift operator training have therefore set up their own organisation to replace HSE approval. More details can be found here. Back

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