10 May 2021

To operate a forklift, your employee must have completed certified forklift training. They also need to maintain their training via refresher courses and online learning. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure your employees have the correct certifications – so are you confident your employees are up to date with theirs?

Why is forklift training so important?

Forklift trucks are one of the most useful assets for materials handling professionals. However, whether used inside or outside, they must always be operated with care. If not handled correctly, these heavy pieces of machinery pose many dangers to the operator and those in the wider environment, including accidents such as overturning and spilling loads which can lead to serious injury and damage to the truck.

That is why, whether an experienced forklift operator or someone who is just starting out, you must ensure your employees keep on top of their forklift driver training. Regular forklift training is the best way to ensure safety in the workplace.

Having up to date forklift training means your employees will know exactly how to use the truck to make the most of its performance capabilities. This in turn can have a positive effect on your forklift operator’s productivity, which will also help to improve the overall productivity of your whole operation.

Incorrect use of a forklift can also reduce the truck’s lifespan. Having up to date knowledge on how to use a forklift efficiently will help to ensure your employees don’t take shortcuts or make mistakes that could result in damage to the truck.

Is a forklift license required?

Your operators will always need evidence of training in order to operate a forklift. However, it is important to note that not every country offers a forklift licensing system. For example, in the UK no such license is given but rather a certificate to offer proof of forklift training.

Every country will have their own set of standards that an individual must meet in order to operate a forklift. That is why a licence gained or forklift training received in one country may not qualify you to operate a forklift in another. If you are seeking a forklift operator job outside of the country you originally received your license or forklift training in, you will need to check whether your current license or certificate is valid.

How often and when to update forklift training

As a rule of thumb, it is expected that a forklift driver renews their training every 3-5 years. However, in some countries it may be that operators need to attend a forklift training course more often than this in order to maintain their licence or certification.
And that’s just a minimum. In order to ensure maximum safety for operators and others in the working environment, it’s important to regularly keep on top of forklift best practices.

There are many other instances where it may be appropriate for a forklift operator to go on a forklift refresher course. These include:

  • When you invest in new lift trucks, especially if you’re moving from one type of forklift to another that the operator is not familiar with (for example, moving from diesel to electric)
  • If there has been an accident or near miss in the workplace
  • If the operator is new to your team or company
  • If there is a change in the workplace (for example, a change in the layout of your warehouse)
  • If they haven’t regularly used a lift truck since they last updated their training

Where to renew forklift training

As an employer, you have a responsibility to offer forklift training to your operators. There are many independent organisations that offer accredited forklift training courses, and they can either come to your premises or you can send your staff to theirs.

In-between physical training, it is good to maintain forklift knowledge through online training. Please contact your closest Cat Lift Trucks dealer to find out more about the training offer.

Safety at work
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Cat EP40-55(C)N(H) 80V electric counterbalance