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Everything you need to know about forklift driver training

 B25X 7 in Warehouse

When it comes to anything from a factory or warehouse, to a distribution centre or logistics company, forklifts are a must-have essential for the safe and quick movement of products and goods. However, as with any vehicle, driving a forklift requires training in order to really get the hang of how to operate one safely. Whether you’re hiring new staff who may have never stepped foot on a forklift before, or your existing staff are in need of training for new machinery or a refresher course, forklift driver training can provide you and your staff with the resources to hit the ground running.

In order to give you an insight into everything you need to know about forklift driver training, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, so you can organise training for you and your staff with confidence.

What will a forklift driver training course include?

As the phrase suggests, forklift driver training is the process of educating the potential driver as to not only how a forklift works, but all the health and safety requirements and procedures surrounding its operation. In most cases, even experienced forklift drivers could benefit from further training if they are using new machinery, in order to help them with any new operational requirements and the health and safety knowledge to do their job safely. Existing drivers could also benefit from refresher courses over time in order to keep up to date with changing requirements, technologies and to reduce bad habits.

Forklift driver training typically revolves around the safe operation of the vehicle, covering everything from how different weights can affect how you drive, to how to safely secure heavy loads onto the forks. In most cases, training will also cover how to check and maintain the forklift itself to ensure it’s safe for use and how to handle the forklift in different conditions, including adverse weather. This may differ depending on the requirements of each business, but all forklift driver training aims to be comprehensive and to ensure the safety of both the employee and all other persons in and around the business.

Does my business need forklift driver training?

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, all employees that are managing, supervising or using any machinery or equipment within a business should have received adequate training as to the correct use, risks and precautions to take with the machinery in question. This includes a forklift. While there is no ‘official’ licence needed to drive a forklift, employers are required to provide at least basic training to any employee set to be using a forklift and are also heavily advised to provide training specific to the job in question to certification level.

Without adequate training as to the safe use of a forklift, the employee is considered to be a safety risk under UK law, and so it’s in the employer’s best interests to ensure that all staff involved in the operation of a forklift are adequately trained by certified instructors.

What are the benefits of forklift driver training?

The benefits of training your forklift drivers extend far beyond just ensuring they know how to do their job. As mentioned before, forklift driver training ensures that your employees can handle and operate a forklift safely, ultimately minimising the risk of accidents and maintaining the safety of your staff.

Training can also provide your employees with confidence in their day to day jobs, giving them a stronger foundation from which to start working from day one. With increased confidence in operating a forklift, your business could see better efficiency overall, particularly when employees have the right training in driving, loading, unloading and maintenance.

Even ongoing or refresher training can provide the same benefits, enabling your employees to keep working with confidence and with the highest level of health and safety. Ongoing training and refresher courses mean that your business can operate smoothly over a longer period, with the knowledge that your employees are remaining safe, avoiding bad habits and keeping up to date with changing machinery or technologies.

As an employer, providing forklift driver training will benefit you too, both on a legal and insurance basis. By holding proof of training and health and safety, you will likely see lower insurance premiums both in a general sense and on the machinery itself. You can also protect yourself against liability in some cases and reduce the risk of forklift-related incidents within the workplace.

Is training needed to pass a driving test?

While there is no DVLA-style licence for forklift drivers, there are tests very similar to a standard driving test that forklift drivers can take. These tests, if passed, can offer a different kind of licence or certification that provides evidence that adequate training has been undertaken. Forklift driving tests have a similar points system to the standard driving test, however, certified trainers will work with potential or existing employees to help them through both the theory and practical elements.

What vehicles can forklift driver training cover?

There are a number of different forklifts that can work best in different situations and for that reason, training can be adapted to suit the machinery that you or your employees will be using. This includes forklift trucks, cherry pickers, telehandlers and scissor lifters. Training will cover the full operation of the machine in question, with health and safety information and training relevant to it. Training can also cover automatic or manual vehicles depending on your needs, or both if your business situation calls for it.

Off-site vs. on-site training

Forklift driver training can be conducted either on-site at your premises, or off-site if you do not own your own vehicle or appropriate site. Whether you and your business would benefit from off or on-site training will differ from case to case.

On-site training offers you and your employees the benefit of learning in the vehicle they will be using throughout the duration of their employment and within the environment they’ll be operating in. If you need to train multiple staff, in particular existing employees, then on-site training can offer a more efficient training situation that will leave them feeling more confident in the use of a forklift.

We can also offer on-site training to existing forklift drivers on new machinery, or in cases where they may benefit from ongoing or refresher training. The training program can be tailored to you and your employees regardless of where it is held, ensuring you are always on top of safety.

Off-site training, however, gives you the opportunity to bring or send your employees to our certified instructors and utilise our facilities and vehicles. We offer this service to both individuals who may be looking for training prior to employment, and to companies wanting to train a simple employee.

How much will I need to pay for training?

While the concept of investing in training can feel expensive, we pride ourselves on affordable training schemes that don’t compromise on quality. We provide no-obligation quotes for every query, with no pressure to accept the quoted price or embark on training unless you are completely comfortable with the cost of the training for you or your employees. All of our instructors understand that safety is the top concern, which is why we are proud to offer competitive pricing to ensure every existing and potential forklift driver gets the training that they need.

What qualifications will my instructor have?

Our instructors are fully qualified, experienced individuals in the field, giving you the peace of mind that you or your employees will be in safe hands. Our instructors hold accreditations from RTITB and the Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR), with location-specific knowledge that ensures we can always provide the unique training needed for the Berkshire locality and beyond.

The RTITB and ITSSAR are both preferred standards-setting bodies for workplace transport, who can each provide recommendations and accreditations for external bodies offering training in this area. Both bodies also offer instructor training, which all of our instructors have undertaken in order to provide a seamless, safe and trustworthy service to all of our clients.

What are my next steps?

If you have decided to apply for forklift driver training, either for yourself or for your staff, the next steps are simple – all you have to do is get in touch with our team to get your personalised quote. You can contact us through our simple online form, or you can give us a call and speak to one of our friendly in-house team to get your quote directly. All quotes hold no obligation, meaning that you can walk away if the time or price isn’t right. We aim to offer some of the most competitive prices on the market, however, and will tailor our approach entirely to your needs, which is reflected in the overall cost.

Once you have the quote, you simply need to get in touch to confirm, and we’ll be there to walk you through the process of organising your first training sessions either on-site or off-site. We can also provide you with any information you may need that hasn’t been covered here or around our website, including whether on-site or off-site training will be more suitable to you or your employees.

If you have any further queries or questions prior to your application for a quote, you can still use the contact form or telephone number to get in touch with our staff, who will be on hand to help at every stage of your forklift driver training journey.

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