Forklift trucks are potentially very dangerous machines in the workplace setting, every year around 70 people are killed in transport-related accidents in the workplace and around eight of those involve forklift trucks. Hence whether you are considering becoming a forklift truck driver as a career, or your business requires that you regularly have use of one, it is important to realise that just like learning to drive a car, proper training is necessary and a licence is required.
There are a number of factors to consider in the journey to becoming a qualified forklift truck driver, these include:
Type of Licence Required
Driver Experience Level
The Right Training Provider
1.Type of Licence Required
The type of licence you require relates to the type of truck you will be required to drive, each forklift truck category requires a licence.
For example a licence to drive a rough terrain forklift does not cover you to drive a telescopic handler, in order to do so you would be required to attend a conversion training course. This is a one day course designed for those already licensed and wishing to extend their skills and licence in order to drive another category of machine.
If you are unsure of which truck licence to apply for then speak to your training provider. Alternatively, a common route is to undertake training for a counter balanced forklift truck (up to 5 tonnes) and attend any conversion training to increase your portfolio, as and when required.
2.Driver Experience Level
The degree and amount of training you will require will depend on your level of experience:
1 Day Refresher required for those with previous experience whose licence has expired.
3 Day New Operator for those new to forklift truck driving but with experience or prior knowledge of forklift trucks
5 Day Novice for those with no prior experience, in any capacity, of forklift trucks.
Your training provider will run through a training review checklist to ensure you receive the correct level of training.
3.The Right Training Provider
It is important to ensure you undertake your forklift truck training with a reputable company dedicated to providing skilled and quality training. A good provider should be NORS (National Operators Registration Scheme) registered and provide RTITB (Road Transport Industry Training Board) level accreditation. Many reputable forklift truck companies offer driver training, or you can visit the RTITB website for a list of accredited training providers.
Prices vary, but those who choose to run with fewer delegates on each course, while being slightly more costly, may offer a better experience.
In summary taking time to review your training needs, and find an accredited training provider are important steps to becoming a qualified forklift truck driver. Failure to procure the correct training and licence for the vehicle you intend to drive leaves you open to prosecution, it is therefore of upmost importance to protect both yourself and the safety of others.
Charlotte Mclean works for an established forklift truck business run by her family for many years. For more information or advice on driver training or for forklift truck hire and sales visit Manton Hire & Sales Ltd