Do I Need an Electric Forklift Licence?
Some of you reading may be unaware of how to obtain a ‘electric forklift licence’. While forklift operators are an essential part of a lot of businesses in the UK, there still seems to be a lack of clarity in relation to the legalities of driving them. Being able to operate a forklift requires proper training. As such, this blog is going to discuss:
- Do I need an electric forklift licence to operate an electric forklift?
- How do I become qualified to operate an electric forklift?
- How long is a forklift certificate valid for?
- Can you fail a forklift training certificate?
Do I Need an Electric Forklift Licence to Operate An Electric Forklift?
The short answer is no. You don’t need to have a driving licence or any sort of electric forklift licence in order to operate an electric forklift. You may be shocked to think that, there is in fact, no such thing as an ‘electric forklift licence’. However, you will need to complete the appropriate forklift operator training to comply with safe working practices and will be awarded a certificate at the end of the training. This certificate is what is commonly referred to as a ‘forklift licence’.
It is incredibly important that you go with a provider that provides complete training programmes to ensure that you meet the most up to date legal requirements otherwise you simply will not be permitted to operate an electric forklift.
How do I Become Qualified to Operate an Electric Forklift?
While there are next to no legal requirements needed to drive an electric forklift, there are some obvious background checks that people must pass in order to operate these pieces of machinery which we have detailed below:
The first necessity to pass when aiming to operate an electric forklift is strong vision. In essence, your sight should not be impaired in any way. If glasses or contact lenses are usually worn to aid your sight, they must also be worn when operating a forklift. This is because if you fail to spot potential hazards before they arise, accidents and in extreme cases, fatalities can occur. As such, it is imperative that you have suitable sight capabilities to see all incoming problems when in a warehouse setting.
Forklift drivers must be over the minimum school leaving age, which is 16 in the UK, in order to work in a warehouse operating a forklift. However, if operators want to work in ports, they will have to be a minimum of 18 years old.
There is no minimum level of fitness required to be a forklift driver. However, the levels of fitness to operate a forklift are generally the same as what is required for a full UK driving licence. Examples can be any of the following but is not limited to:
- Vision (as we have previously discussed)
- Spatial awareness
- Attention and concentration
- Adaptive strategies
- Strong reaction times
- Sound planning and organisation
- Ability to self-monitor
- Muscle power and control
- Healthy cardiovascular and neuro system
A forklift operator must be able to clearly hear instructions and warning signals. Hearing is just as necessary as having strong levels of vision. Failure to listen to oncoming traffic, whether it be fellow forklift operators or pedestrians passing by, could lead to accidents. Therefore, it is important you can hear correctly when in a noisy environment.
Full Range of Motion in Body
A not so common necessity that future forklift operators must possess is the ability to have full range of motion within your body. This can be anything from being able to to turn your neck to look behind you when reversing or simply being able to step into the cab of a forklift. These small details are vital if you want to be able to operate a forklift efficiently.
How Long is An Electric Forklift Licence Valid For?
There is no real time frame in which an electric forklift licence is valid for. You can quite literally have it for as long as you are employed as a forklift operator but as a universal rule, employers will generally not accept certificates that are more than three years old.
With this in mind however, it is vital that forklift refresher courses are regularly completed in order to keep your knowledge of operating a forklift up to date. Innovation of technology is always improving and so new functions and gadgets are bound to be manufactured. This means you will be required to have all the relevant knowledge and experience when using them to remain safe.
Can You Fail A Forklift Certificate Course?
While yes, you can fail the course, you can retake the training if needs be but you may be required to pay for the training or be instructed to revise for theory before completing more training courses. Furthermore, most companies will allow you to take the test more than once, however, some companies may be less lenient before allowing you to take the test again.
Your employer has the final say on whether you’re allowed to take the test again so always confer with your employer if you need any questions answering regarding the training procedure.