Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drive a forklift truck? Haulage and logistics are big business and will always need drivers to operate this lifting and carrying equipment. There is minimal training needed and excellent benefits. Every manufacturer or industrial compnay will need an army of forklift drivers to move materials around a site safely and efficiently. Materials handling would be a nightmare without forklift truck drivers.

Before training, it’s useful to have a bit of background knowledge about the concepts of forklift driving so you can decide if this type of training is for you. There is no licencing body or an official licence for forklift driving and the law here is somewhat vague but there is a duty of responsibility for an employer to recognise the safety necessities of proper training for all staff using such equipment. Providing training is practical and reasonable and this is how a court would view it so it’s an important aspect of beginning to drive a forklift truck.

Training is necessary for a number of reasons. Forklift trucks are specially designed to carry heavy loads in small spaces around pallet racking and shelving that can be very high. These things combined can make for a a hazardous environment. For Used Pallet racking, visit We’ve all seen the comedy sketches where some hapless individual doesn’t know how to handle one and brings all the racking crashing down around them! Because of this, the forklift’s weight distribution, size and shape makes it quite different from driving any other type of vehicle. Driving one safely with a full load on takes some skill and practice and then driving one without a load on feels different yet again.

Things included in the training are:

  • Forklift manoeuvring – this is by far the most challenging aspect, moving the vehicle in confined spaces. It takes a fair amount of training and practice to do so safely.
  • Equipment checking – all equipment must be checked on a regular basis so it remains safe for use. Formal inspections are a bit like an MOT. As well as the formal checks, the driver will be expected to make their own checks in line with health and safety.
  • Cargo Control – you need to learn how to handle loads safely and training includes stacking, unstacking, proper load balancing and smooth operation.

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Most companies these days will expect to see some proof of certification before you are allowed to be loose on one. There are a few different courses on offer including Reach Forklift, Counterbalance Forklift and a combined Reach and Counterbalance course. Refresher courses on a regular basis throughout your career is also a good idea as technology changes all the time. How often will depend on the industry in which you work and the confidence you have in your forklift driving abilities. At least once a year is a good idea and this applies even to established professional forklift operators.