Over the years I’ve seen many roles for forklift drivers state must have a forklift licence.

It’s a common misconception as there is no such thing as a forklift licence, only time a licence is required if driven on a public road, where an appropriate valid driving licence would be required for class of vehicle.

  1. Basic – Training in type of truck reach, counterbalance etc.  This is where the perception forklift operator’s will have a licence as advisable operator’s are trained to RTITB or ITSSAR standards.
  2. Familiarisation – Training on actual truck to be used, forklifts between different manufacturers may be slightly different
  3. Specific – Each workplace is different, task and activities will be different, loads to be lifted or carried are different, loading/unloading from side of a vehicle will be different from using a loading ramp.

Once training is completed good practice is that written authority is given by Senior Manager/Director for each type of truck which employee is authorised to use.

Do you send your fork lift drivers to an outside trainer or bring a trainer in when required?

Both these options will cover the basic element of training and if training carried out on your site on your forklifts would cover familiarisation training.

Have you considered training a member of staff as a trainer as even with a few employees can be more cost effective and allow for all three elements to be covered.

How do you cover specific fork lift training within your workplace?

Things to consider

When was the last time you monitored the forklift operations?

  • If electric trucks being used are they set on tortoise or hare speed settings
  • When passing through doors are horns always sounded
  • Is the emphasis on getting the job done or on ensuring is completed safely if takes a couple of minutes longer.

Another area to look at is when was your pallet racking last inspected?

  • Does it show signs of damage
  • How much damage is there and is it within acceptable tolerances
  • If a forklift driver hits the racking is it always reported. Are they actively encouraged to report or is there a culture of blame if they do

Racking inspection may often be perceived as a sales ploy by racking companies, some it may well be. But it is important racking is inspected, will be knocked from time to time, a good way is to train forklift drivers as racking inspectors as helps to develop an awareness within forklift drivers of what may happen if hit racking and improve driving standards of driving taking ownership and responsibility.

If you need any advice and support in assessing the hazards and risks of forklift operations contact Sky Blue Safety Ltd