title>Penalty point system for marking the forklift operator's test

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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.

penalty point system - Forklift operator's test

I have often been told by people who have received previous training and testing that they scored "so and so percent" on their test. I'm not quite sure why people say this unless there are instructors out there who don't explain things properly!

Right from the start in 1972 there has never been a percentage score for the practical test of fork lift truck operator basic skills. There is for the written test but not for the practical.

In fact it's very simple. A trainee starts their test with zero points and attempts to score as few as possible as in fact, they are penalty points! The idea is to score as low as possible. After the test they get added up by the instructor and the total must not exceed 40. If a trainee scores 41 or more they are deemed to have failed the test. I assume that the percentage thing came about as part of "folk law"? In other words if I only score 10 points and I'm allowed 40 that must be 25%. This is erroneous thinking and such comments would not be understood by an accrediting body.

I do not propose to list all of the faults and all of the associated penalties here but rather to make certain comments about they way a test can be approached. My advice would be never to start a test with the intention of doing a "clear round" - i.e. zero points. I think to manage that feat you have to not only be good but also to have one of those really good days that we get occasionally!

There are three types of error that can cause penalty points on a truck test:

Serious Faults

Under this heading would come potentially dangerous things such as lack of observation, failing to secure the truck whilst stacking and other various things which may cause serious problems in the real world. Having an extended load centre would be another example and there are more.......

Mid range faults

I don't know what else to call these but they would be errors in judgment such as touching things during the test when negotiating the chicane for example. There are also plenty of other opportunities to touch things that one shouldn't whilst stacking! Making a poor stack would fall into this category so long as the stack was not actually dangerous.

Minor faults

These are awarded for minor things that are not deemed to be dangerous but may show a slight lack of judgment. The common place to score one point at a time is when lining up at a stack. One free shunt is allowed to get the truck into position but after that, one point per shunt is noted by the instructor. The same argument goes for shunting in the chicane and no free ones are allowed here.


Although not very common in my experience, a trainee can be disqualified for one of six different things. It should also be noted that there is a time limit on the test and one can be disqualified for exceeding this.

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