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Forklift Training Questions

Updated on June 6, 2011

How Long Does a Forklift License Last?

There is no such thing as a forklift truck driver’s licence! There is no central licensing authority.

Every employer has a responsibility, under Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), to ensure that employees have adequate training before they use work equipment. The training required in order to operate most fork lift trucks is explained in the special Code of Practice.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the operator receives training on each type of equipment he or she may be required to operate. Such training may be provided by an in-house instructor or an external trainer. The training provider should then issue a certificate, or other document, giving details of the results of that training. This document could be called a ‘permit’ but it is not a licence.

The employer is required to give written authority for any employee to actually operate the equipment. If an individual document is issued this is the closest document to a licence, but it is not a licence.

I Am Trained On One Type of Forklift Truck - Can I Drive Any Type Now?

No - you are only trained to operate the machine which is indicated on your permit.

If you need to operate a truck with a larger capacity, or a different type of truck, or a truck with additional attachments, you will need conversion training on those trucks also.

Information on the different truck groupings can be found on: Forklift Training

What Are The Legal Requirements With Regard To Forklift Truck Operator Refresher Training?

The need for periodic re-assessment of fork lift operators to ensure safety of operation is clearly established by the HSC Code of Practice (L117 para 47) and the guidance provided by PUWER 98 regulation 9 (L22 para. 188) concerning the need to provide refresher training.

It is our view that employers should continuously monitor the performance of their operators to ascertain whether they might need refresher training (typical indicators are regular near misses, accidents or consistently unsafe working practices).

  • Refresher training should always be carried out following an unsafe incident whilst operating lift trucks (or other workplace transport) before the operator is permitted to restart using that piece of equipment.
  • As it is recognised (by PUWER 98) that even if there is not an incident, there can be a decline in skills (particularly if equipment is only used infrequently) then refresher training should be carried out at periodic intervals to ensure safety in operation.
  • The frequency of refresher training must reflect the operational risks that exist in different applications, but it is unlikely that any operation using fork lift trucks can afford to go more than five years between refresher training and retesting and every three years would be preferable. For particularly hazardous operations, bi-annual refresher training and retesting should be considered'.
  • As a free service to you, when you book with us, we will send you a reminder every year for all delegates from your company who are due for a refresher assessment. This should help with the ongoing review of your operators' skills.

(For more information, see the UK Health and Safety Executive website:

How Can I Check That The Training Is Accredited And Recognised By The Health And Safety Executive?

The Health and Safety Executive recognise a number of bodies as being competent to accredit training organisations for the training of fork lift truck instructors and operators.

When selecting a trainer or training company it would be prudent to check that they have been accredited by one of these bodies and that the accreditation is current.

Details of the accrediting bodies, including their areas of specialism, are given in the HSC booklet L117 (see below). Current contact details are given below.

Association of Industrial Truck Trainers
Unit 20, The Springboard Centre, Mantle Lane, Coalville, Leics, LE67 3DW (AITT) Tel: 01530 277857 Fax: 01530 810231

Construction Industry Training Board
Bircham Newton, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE31 6RH Construction Plan Competence Scheme (CPC) Tel: 0870 417 7274

Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register
Armstrong House, 28 Broad Street, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1AB (ITSSAR) Tel: 0118 989 3229 Fax: 0118 979 6058 Email:

Lantra Awards
Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG Tel: 024 7669 6996 Fax: 024 7669 6732 Email:

National Plant Operators Registration Scheme Ltd
PO Box 204, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 7FY (NPORS) Tel: 01606 49909 Fax: 01606 352239 Email

Access House, Halesfield 17, Telford, Shropshire, TF7 4PW Tel: 01952 520200 Fax: 01952 520201 Email:

I Have An Overseas License - Is It Valid For The UK?

As there is no such thing as a forklift truck driver’s licence in the UK, it follows therefore that a forklift truck licence issued in any other country cannot be valid in the UK.

Some countries do issue licences to fork lift truck operators. It is quite common for an individual from one of these countries, who is seeking employment in UK as a fork lift truck operator, to offer this licence, with an authenticated translation, as proof of their ability to operate. Whilst there may be no reason to doubt the authenticity of such documentation it would be unwise for any potential employer to accept it at face value.

At the very least the skills required to obtain that licence may not have been appropriate to either the kind of truck or the operating environment for which the individual is to be employed. Under these circumstances it would be best to treat the foreign licence as though it were a training certificate from an unknown, unaccredited trainer – with caution.

Arrange to have the potential employee formally assessed and then provide any additional training that may be required.

Remember, the employer is required to give written authority for any employee to actually operate the equipment. The employer alone will determine how long this authority remains valid and it is good practice to ensure that the performance of all operators is formally monitored on a regular basis.

Why Do I Need An Accredited Instructor To Train My Staff - I Am An Operator, Couldn't I Train Them?

The short answer is ‘no’. Although you may be a very competent operator, it does not necessarily follow that you are able to instruct.

Operator training should always be carried out by instructors who have themselves undergone appropriate training as an instructor. This training would include instructional techniques and skill assessments of delegates. They should only give instruction on the types of lift trucks and attachments for which they themselves have been trained on, tested and operate.

Instructors also need sufficient industrial experience and a good understanding of the working environment in which the trainee will be operating.

More information on becoming a forklift trainer can be found on: Forklift Training

How Long Will My Training Last?

It really depends on how much experience you have prior to training and taking your test. For novices the guidance would be that three people can be trained, with one instructor, using one truck, in five days. This gives adequate time to be trained both in the theory of truck operation, and to have sufficient practical experience to become a safe operator under close supervision.

When I Pass My Training, Can I Start Work?

Yes, but it is essential that newly trained operators are give specific job and familiarisation training, tailored to the employers own needs. Operators should be given the opportunity to put the skills acquired during training into practice at their workplace to reinforce the training.

Do You Have A List Of Useful Publications Which Would Help Me?

Yes. Further information is available in the following publications which are readily available from HSE Books (Telephone 01787 881165).

Rider-Operated Lift Trucks: Operator Training Safe Use of Work Equipment Approved Code of Practice and Guidance

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 HSC Code L117

Approved Code of Practice and Guidance ISBN: 0-7176-2455-2 HSE Code L22
Price £5.00 ISBN: 0-7176-1626-6 Price £8.00

Grateful thanks to the Fork Lift Truck Association for allowing Train-a-Lift to use the content of their fact sheets.

FLTA website:

Responsibility for meeting the safety obligations discussed rests with the employer, and Train-a-Lift will not accept liability for any problem arising as a result of this content.

Forklift Training

What Forklift Training SHOULDN'T Be!


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    • profile image

      Peter Collins 

      3 years ago

      Do I need to produce an id card before I conduct in house training ?

    • profile image

      Nigel Massey 

      4 years ago

      Hi I did me fork lift truck licence a few years ago at a company in bollington Kay metzler but I got told it was in house but now I spoke to my mate an he said it wasn't how can I find out

    • AdeelAthar profile image

      Adeel Ather 

      5 years ago

      Excellent written questions.

    • profile image

      Forklift Training Expert 

      7 years ago

      In the US a permit to operate a forklift in the workplace is valid for 3 years. After that time a re-eveluation must be performed and a new permit issued. There is a full explanation of what is required by OSHA at

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i like this


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