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While you don’t need a driving licence to operate a forklift and there’s no such thing as a ‘forklift licence’, certain qualifications are still required by law to operate this type of machinery.

To comply with safe working practices, an aspiring forklift operator will need to complete a forklift truck training course.

Regardless of whether you want to obtain a new skill to broaden your future prospects or ensure that all your employees are trained to operate machinery according to the latest legal requirements, we can help.

Below, we explore why forklift training is necessary as well as the objectives of this training and what is included in the course.

Why is forklift truck training necessary?

Not only is forklift truck training a helpful course to take for those aspiring or already working in a relevant industry, but it is also a legal requirement that all forklift operators have the appropriate safety tuition.

As set out by the Health & Safety and Work Act 1974, employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe work environment. It states:

 “The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all his employees.” 

This training therefore helps to ensure the safety of the operator, as well as their colleagues, and any other individuals working on site – reducing the frequency of accidents.

Who can take forklift training?

According to guidance in the relevant Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approved code of practice (ACOP), anyone that is 16 (the minimum school-leaving age) with good verbal and written English skills can take an industrial forklift truck training course.

Those skills are essential for not only the completion of the course, but also the exam that comes at the end.

Participants on the industrial forklift truck training course accredited by the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) must also have completed and passed the relevant Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test in the past two years.

Who needs to take forklift truck training?

Any employee or individual planning to operate a forklift truck will be legally required to undertake appropriate training.

This includes managers and supervisors as well as employees, so it’s best to consider training every member of staff if you run a construction or warehousing business – no matter how long they plan on operating the machinery for.

Similarly, individuals looking for work in these sectors can benefit from taking this course.

What training is required to operate a forklift truck?

According to government guidance, regardless of whether employers use in-house trainers or use external training providers, forklift operators must be trained to the standards outlined in the L117 ACOP (Approved Code of Practice relating to the main legal requirements of lift trucks).

Forklift training can be delivered by members of a voluntary accredited body, awarding organisations (subject to quality assured regimes) and independent in-house bodies.

While it is not a legal requirement for forklift training organisations to be part of a voluntary accredited body, it can help to set and maintain standards, ensuring employers and individuals choose training organisations that offer a good standard of training.

At SB Skills Solutions, most of our industrial forklift truck training is accredited by the National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS).

We also conduct in-house training that can be tailored to the needs of your organisation – for example, including additional elements of on-site safety tuition that your workers might benefit from.

What is the objective of forklift truck training?

The ultimate objective of forklift truck training is to ensure those operating forklift machinery are able to do so in a safe and competent manner.

By achieving this, employers have peace of mind the risk of injury is reduced for operators and others on site.

Participants will also work towards receiving appropriate certification from the awarding body.

However, in general terms, at the end of a forklift operator training course, delegates will be able to:

  • Operate the truck model used during teaching safely and correctly in accordance with the manufacturer’s operator procedures
  • Demonstrate their understanding by stating clearly the causes of instability for trucks and loads
  • Carry out correctly routine pre-use inspection of the lift truck in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual

Those taking a CPCS accredited forklift truck training course, and have passed the HS&E exam mentioned above, can apply for a trained operator card – also known as a red card – upon successful completion of the relevant theory and practical tests.

Click here to find out more about CPCS cards and training

What is included in forklift truck training?

The ACOP text gives advice on the basic training of forklift truck operators.

To comply with their legal obligations, employers must make sure that all operators – both new and existing – are adequately trained and, when necessary, provide additional forklift refresher training.

If you are unsure, ask us about which type of training is suitable for your workers.

However, the categories are usually novice, experienced (those without a licence who require a retest to update their skills) or refreshers (people who have previously had licences that are now out of date).

Basic training, which focuses primarily on how to operate a forklift truck safely and efficiently and is done off the job, may be conducted at a suitable training centre or venue, or at an employer’s premises.

If done on location, the instructor and trainees, together with the lift truck and any loads, are kept away from normal commercial operations.

Basic training can be combined with specific job training, which teaches the principles and controls of the type of forklift truck that operators will use in their workplace.

SB Skills Solutions is happy to tailor training to an employer’s needs. The course content depends upon the lift-truck operations the trainee is expected to carry out.

However, basic practical training will include:

  • Introduction to the lift truck to be used, including its controls and instruments
  • Correct procedures for mounting and dismounting
  • Start, moving, stopping and steering the lift truck
  • Operation of the hydraulic controls
  • Weight assessment and lift truck stability
  • Handling unladen pallets and laden loads
  • Stacking and de-stacking procedures
  • Driving on and off ramps and inclines
  • Road vehicle loading and unloading procedures
  • Lift truck pre-use checks
  • Refueling procedures

A theory element introduces learners to the operator’s safety code.

A practical test, which assesses basic operating skills as well as the ability of learners to carry out a pre-use check, completes the course.

How long does it take to do forklift training?

Courses should be long enough to cover the requirements laid out in the ACOP.

The time required to complete forklift truck training is determined by several factors; the type of machinery, the experience of the participant(s), and how many learners there are.

All tuition delivered by SB Skills Solutions uses the maximum ratio of three trainees to one instructor for practical sessions.

As a guide, training for three novices would take five days (or 37.5 hours) to complete.

Operators with some experience of forklift trucks or relevant experience of similar vehicles may need less extensive training than those with none.

That said, an operator with basic training on one type of lift truck will need additional training to safely operate others. However, the hours will be reduced because of learner already understands stability and safety.

Ask us about conversion training.

How much does forklift truck training cost?

In the same way the length of an industrial forklift training course depends on the experience of the participant, so too does the cost.

At SB Skills Solutions, our in-house accredited five-day course for novices costs £750.

However, shorter refresher training courses start from £180.

Forklift truck training at SB Skills Solutions

Interested in one of our industrial forklift truck training courses?

At SB Skills Solutions, we deliver first-class training courses to employers wanting to equip their workers with new or improved skills.

We also help young adults to plan for their future career by supporting them in their search for new skills.

As a trusted training provider, we deliver courses accredited by NPORS and CPCS in addition to our own tailored in-house offer.

Supported by appropriately experienced and qualified trainers, testers and customer sales assistants, we provide an unmatched level of expertise, knowledge and professionalism across a wide range of subjects.

If you require further help or advice about training, certification or licences for operating a forklift truck, don’t hesitate to ask.

You can get in touch with the team at SB Skills Solutions by either giving us a call on 01695 558 420 or sending an email to

Alternatively, you can also use our online contact page to submit your enquiry.

Our handy online contact forms can be used to book one of our training courses or to find out more about the services we have on offer.

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