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Forklift Training: What to Expect


Forklift training is not something that should be overlooked. A knowledgeable operator can offer return straight away with regard to efficiency -few mishaps, less damage to materials, and less chance of injury. But above all, a properly trained operator complies with the health and safety code of practice.

It is also recommended that most centres offering forklift training courses register with the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) - that way they are at least monitored at regular intervals. Course centres are also obliged to tick to regulations as stated by The Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR.) Try and check the history of any centres - be wary of the ones that have had accreditation refusal.


Any instructors also need to have passed through the "RTITB" and "ITSSAR" and have qualifications proving this. They are also supposed to have certificate pertaining to the courses they cover. Any person or centre that does not adhere to this is in direct violation of the Health and Safety code of practice.

Forklift Training Procedure

Firstly, those that do not make the grade i.e. fail the courses need to be discarded. Anyone who has to operate a heavy piece of machinery in a high employee density area needs to be capable. Most companies have their own programs but it is not uncommon for some to outsource this service.

Forklift training programs are usually developed around three key areas:

  1. Previous knowledge and experience that the potential operator may have.
  2. Observed ability of a potential operator, with regard to forklift handling.
  3. Hazards that will be faced in the assigned workplace.

Although practical hands- on experience is an essential element of any course (particularly in this field), additional classroom type instruction is also a vital component of any forklift course.

The practical side would normally consist of demonstrations that are given by the qualified operators which are then mimicked by the trainees. Supervision is needed at all times as this aspect of learning requires trainees actually operating the forklifts. A controlled area is a must to reduce the chance of injury and accidents

The academic part of the forklift training course will take the form of:

  • Structured lectures and discussion periods
  • Written assignments, essays and tests
  • Video demonstrations
  • Computer aided learning

So what courses would one expect to encounter? Some of the topics that would be covered include:

  • Differences between a standard automobile and a forklift truck.
  • The different operating guidelines, potential warnings and cautions that come with the different types and models.
  • How the controls work and how to read the instruments.
  • Forklift engine and motor specifications and mechanics.
  • Steering and dynamics of movement.
  • Fork and attachment control and operation.
  • Awareness of workplace surroundings.

Re-fresher Course

Refresher forklift training courses are usually required in the event of the following:

  • Accident / near accident
  • An observation is made where the lift is used in an unsafe way
  • An assessment indicates that extra instruction is required.
  • The area of work changes - presenting new hazards.
  • Operators are upgraded to newer or different models /types.