How to Become a Forklift Instructor

forklift instructor

Are you a forklift operator exploring your next career step? Or a business owner assessing the merits of in-house forklift training? At HL Training, we’re here to guide you through becoming a certified forklift instructor. In this guide, we’ll explore the role of a forklift instructor and why it might be right for you or your business. We also delve into the essential skills needed for success in this role and outline the necessary training and requirements. 

In this guide:

What is a forklift instructor?

A forklift instructor is a certified professional responsible for training and educating individuals in the safe and efficient operation of forklifts. Their role is pivotal in promoting workplace safety, ensuring compliance with industry regulations, and improving overall productivity.

Instructors are well-versed in forklift principles, teaching learners how to operate these powerful machines with precision. They create and deliver comprehensive training programs that cover everything from the fundamentals of forklift operations to advanced handling techniques.

A significant part of their role involves assessing and evaluating trainees to identify areas needing improvement and providing constructive feedback. They also design lesson plans, conduct classroom and practical sessions, and administer both written and practical examinations.

Forklift instructors play a critical role in shaping competent forklift operators who can navigate various challenges in warehouse, construction, and logistics environments. Ultimately, their mission is to ensure that all forklift operators are well-trained, safety-conscious, and capable of performing their duties effectively, reducing workplace accidents and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Why become a forklift instructor

Accredited forklift instructor

Are you a talented forklift operator looking for your next career step?

Becoming an accredited forklift instructor offers a fulfilling and secure career path. It allows you to share your expertise, enhance workplace safety, and contribute to a smoother, more efficient operation. In this role, you’ll not only deepen your own knowledge and skills but also enjoy the satisfaction of mentoring others. Moreover, the demand for qualified forklift instructors remains consistently high across various industries, ensuring long-term job stability. It’s a profession that combines personal growth with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on workplace safety and productivity.

In-house forklift instructor

While hiring external forklift operator training services is an excellent option, there are solid reasons for businesses to consider in-house training. Accredited forklift operator training equips your team to handle various manual handling challenges, but the training costs can accumulate over time. Once your need for operator training reaches a certain scale or frequency, having an in-house forklift operator trainer can become a cost-effective choice. However, you will need to train forklift trainers to deliver in-house training. The initial investment in forklift instructor training can yield substantial savings in the long run, particularly if there’s a consistent demand within your organisation for forklift operator training.

In short, investing in forklift instructor training can save you money on forklift operator training in the future. 

Who is a good candidate for forklift instructor training?

While a forklift instructor certainly needs a high level of operating ability with the specific category of lift truck they will train on, expertise in operating alone is insufficient for becoming a forklift instructor. Proficiency as a forklift operator is a fundamental requirement, but not all skilled operators can effectively transition into the role of a trainer. To be a strong candidate for providing forklift training, individuals should possess a range of additional skills and traits, including:

  • Strong Communication Skills: Forklift instructors must excel in precise communication, as they need to convey technical information to individuals with varying levels of experience and skill. Effective communication is crucial in this role.
  • Analytical Skills: These skills are vital for assessing candidates and identifying areas where additional support is needed to close skill gaps on an individual basis.
  • Good Literacy Skills: Whether it’s creating written lesson plans, composing progress reports for candidates, or delving into written reports and informational materials, forklift instructors regularly rely on their literacy skills.
  • Presentation Skills: Forklift instructors should feel comfortable presenting in diverse settings, including classrooms and work environments. They must also be capable of delivering both theoretical and practical lessons effectively.

In essence, being a forklift trainer entails more than just technical expertise; it demands a well-rounded skill set that encompasses communication, analysis, literacy, and presentation abilities to effectively educate and assess forklift operators.

Forklift instructor prerequisites: Forklift operator training

To become a forklift instructor you will need to undergo and successfully pass forklift instructor training. These training courses have prerequisites and require a level of operator proficiency with the type of forklift you intend to instruct on. You must have earned or refreshed your basic operator training certificate for the relevant truck type within 6 months of your instructor training course start date. If you have a basic operator certificate for another truck type you may undertake a conversion course to meet the instructor training requirements. 

Forklift instructor training

Accredited forklift instructor training

After obtaining your basic training certificate, the next step is enrolling in an accredited forklift instructor course. A comprehensive course will delve into the fundamental principles of forklift truck operations and industry codes of practice. It will equip you with the essential skills required for the instructional aspect of the role, too. Throughout the course, you’ll gain insights into various teaching methods, lesson types, and the creation of lesson plans for both classroom and practical settings. Additionally, you’ll cover instructional techniques, skills assessment, and ongoing evaluation processes.

In-house forklift instructor training

For in-house instructor roles there are non-accredited in-house forklift instructor training courses available. Thi si the perfect training for those wishing to train company employees and issue in-house certificates. Our in-house instructor training for example will prepare you to conduct in-house training and skills assessments. To enrol on HL Training’s in-house forklift instructor training you must:

  • Be a certified counterbalance or reach truck operator (dated within 12 months of the course start date)


  • Have 6 months operating experience

Forklift Instructor FAQs

What qualifications do I need to become a forklift instructor?

To become an accredited forklift instructor you must complete an accredited forklift instructor course. You must hold a basic operator certificate for the relevant truck type to enrol into an accredited instructor training. 

What basic operator certificate do I need for instructor training?

Our  forklift instructors course is based on instructing on a counterbalance forklift truck therefore you must hold a basic operator certificate for counterbalance forklifts to enrol. If you have completed operator training for a different truck type, you can complete a conversion course to meet the instructor training prerequisites.

Do I need to complete separate instructor training for each forklift truck type?

No, our accredited forklift instructor training course enables you to instruct on any machine you hold certificates for including certificates earned after completing the course. 

Become a forklift instructor with HL Training

Ready to become an accredited forklift instructor? HL Training offers top-tier 10-day instructor training programs accredited by ITSSAR, AITT, and RTITB. Our forklift instructor training courses equip you with the expertise to excel in this rewarding role. You’ll have the qualifications to become an accredited ITSSAR, AITT, or RTITB instructor upon completion. Or learn everything you need to know to train your own team with our non-accredited in-house forklift instructor training. 

To find out more, get in touch with our expert forklift training team. Give us a call today!

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A Comprehensive Guide to Forklift Batteries

Forklifts are the workhorses of warehouses and many other industrial and commercial settings. And batteries are the life force behind forklifts. Therefore, forklift batteries are a fundamental aspect of your operations. Ensuring your batteries work effectively is crucial to optimal performance. Here’s how to maximise your battery’s performance and longevity. 

Types of Forklift Batteries

Forklift batteries come in various types, each with its characteristics and benefits. Understanding these distinctions is crucial to choosing the right power source for your needs.

Lead-Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries have been the traditional workhorses of the forklift industry. These robust batteries are known for their reliability and are well-suited for various applications. However, they require diligent maintenance and have limitations regarding charging speed and overall lifespan.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries represent a modern and increasingly popular alternative. They offer faster charging, longer cycle life, and reduced maintenance needs. Lithium-ion batteries are ideal for operations that require high productivity and minimal downtime.

Fuel Cell Batteries

Fuel cell technology is gaining traction as a green and sustainable forklift power source. These batteries use hydrogen to generate electricity, emitting only water vapour as a byproduct.

Charging an Electric Forklift: A Step-by-Step Guide

Charging an electric forklift battery is relatively straightforward, but following the correct procedures is essential to safety, battery health, and performance.

Step 1: Prioritise Safety

Equip yourself with personal protective gear, including safety glasses and gloves.

Step 2: Battery Inspection

Inspect the battery for any visible damage, leaks, or other issues. If any problems are detected, address them before proceeding with charging.

Step 3: Disconnect the battery

Before charging, ensure that the forklift is powered off, and safely disconnect the battery from the forklift. 

Step 4: Charger Connection

Ensure mains power is switched off, then plug the charger into an appropriate power source and attach it to the charger. 

Step 5: Commence Charging

Start the charging process. Most modern chargers come with indicator lights or displays to track the progress.

Step 6: Close Monitoring

Regularly check charging batteries. Immediately stop charging if you notice any unusual heat, smoke, or leaks. These could indicate more significant issues that require professional attention.

Step 7: Disconnect Charger

The charger should automatically transition to maintenance charge mode when the battery is fully charged. If not, stop the charger and then disconnect it to prevent overcharging. ALWAYS stop the charger and isolate the power source before disconnecting the battery. 

Best Practices for Forklift Battery Maintenance

The different kinds of forklift batteries have different maintenance requirements. Whether you have lead-acid or lithium-ion, knowing how to look after them is essential to keep your forklifts running smoothly. Here are some helpful best practices to keep in mind to get the most from your forklift batteries and maximise their longevity. 

Watering and Electrolyte Levels

Maintaining the proper water levels and ensuring the correct electrolyte levels in lead-acid batteries are critical. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  1. Scheduled Watering: Follow a regular watering schedule per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Use Distilled, Deionised or Demineralised Water: Always use distilled water when topping off battery cells to prevent impurities.
  3. Correct Levels: Maintain water levels to cover the battery plates without overfilling.

Cleaning and Inspection

  1. Exterior Cleanliness: Keep the battery and its surroundings clean to prevent dirt and debris from affecting connections and ventilation.
  2. Internal Examination: Routinely inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks, or damage. Address any issues promptly.

 Preventing Overcharging and Undercharging

  1. Equalisation Charges: Implement equalisation charges as the manufacturer recommends to maintain consistent cell voltage.
  2. Avoid Overcharging: Prevent overcharging, which can harm the battery and shorten its lifespan.
  3. Prevent Undercharging: Avoid undercharging to prevent sulfation, which reduces battery capacity.

These practices will help ensure your forklift batteries’ longevity and optimal performance.

Forklift Training

Forklifts are powerful tools that help support a variety of operations across a broad range of industries. However, they must be used with care. Proper forklift training is essential to not only effective operation but also safety. Understanding forklift batteries and how to safely and effectively use and charge them is key to workplace safety, maximising effectiveness and avoiding unnecessary expenses (such as needing to replace batteries more frequently).

To learn more about forklift operator training, speak to our team of experienced forklift training instructors

Forklift Battery FAQs

How long does it take to charge a forklift battery?

Charging time varies based on battery type, capacity, and the state of charge. Typically, charging a forklift battery takes 8-10 hours.

When should your forklift battery be recharged?

Recharge your forklift battery when it reaches 20-30% capacity to prevent deep discharges, which can harm the battery.

Can you charge a forklift overnight?

Yes, many forklift batteries can be charged overnight. Modern chargers often have features to prevent overcharging, but proper monitoring is essential.

How many hours does a forklift battery charge last?

A battery charge will typically offer a full shift (8 hours) of use before reaching the recommended charging point of 20-30% charge. It is recommended to follow the 8-8-8 rule: 8 hours of operation, 8 hours of cooling, and 8 hours of charging. 

How long do forklift batteries last?

Forklift battery lifespan depends on usage and maintenance. Typically, they last 1,500 to 2,000 charge cycles or around 5-7 years with proper care and maintenance.

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How Heavy Are Forklifts?

Forklifts are an indispensable tool in various industries, serving a critical role in material handling and logistics. These powerful machines make the movement of heavy loads easier and more efficient. However, to understand the safe operation and transport of forklifts, it’s crucial to grasp just how heavy these machines can be.

Understanding the weight of forklifts is not just an academic exercise; it has real-world implications for safety, maintenance, and logistics planning. Understanding and appreciating the scale of the machinery you are working with is key to using them safely and effectively.

Types of Forklifts and Their Weights

Forklifts are not a one-size-fits-all solution; they come in various types, each tailored to specific tasks and industries. Different categories of forklifts will provide trucks in varying weight ranges. The weight of a forklift may be a byproduct of its design or an intentional part of its design intended to help it better serve its function. 

How Much Do Counterbalance Forklifts Weigh?

Counterbalance forklifts are the workhorses of many industries, designed with a straight-mast configuration for balancing loads in front of the front wheels. These versatile machines come in various weight ranges, typically starting from around 1,300kg. Typical counterbalance trucks may be as heavy as 4,000kg, with some specialist options being even heavier. 

How Much Does A Forklift Counterweight Weight

Counterbalance forklifts use counterweights to offset the weight of the load they are carrying. A counterweight can weigh in the region of 1300kg – 2300kg.

How Much Do Telescopic Handlers Weigh?

Telehandlers combine forklift functionality with extended reach, making them versatile in agricultural and construction settings. They can weigh from approximately 6,800Kg up to more than 13,500Kg.

How Much Do Order Pickers Weigh?

Order pickers are ideal for precise inventory handling, with operators standing on a platform that raises them to access items on shelves. Their weight ranges from 1,200Kg to 8,000Kg.

How Much Do Pump Trucks Weigh?

Pump trucks are compact, manual, or electric tools for short-distance pallet transport. They are commonly lighter, weighing as little as 100Kg.

How Much Do Side Loaders Weigh?

These forklifts are specifically designed for handling long and heavy loads from the side. The side loader attachment provides strength and stability but also adds to the weight of the forklift. Their weight varies based on capacity but often falls between 4,500Kg to 11,000Kg – although it can be more.

How Much Do Electric Forklifts Weigh?

Electric forklifts offer an eco-friendly and indoor-friendly option. Despite having large, heavy batteries, electric forklifts are often lighter than diesel and gas equivalents. Depending on their capacity and design, they can range from 1,100Kg to 8,000Kg in weight.

How Much Do Rough Terrain Forklifts Weigh?

These rugged forklifts tackle outdoor tasks, featuring large, robust tires to navigate uneven terrain. Their weight often starts at 4,500Kg.

Forklifts come in many types and sizes, and their weight is influenced by their lifting capacity and design, materials, and power source. While larger and more powerful forklifts tend to be heavier to accommodate their enhanced capabilities, electric models, favoured for their eco-friendliness, are generally lower capacity. Understanding the relationship between forklift weight and capacity is vital for safety, efficiency, and informed decision-making in the material handling industry. Whether you’re a forklift operator or a logistics professional, knowing the intricacies of forklift weight ensures that these indispensable machines can be utilised effectively and securely in various work environments.

Learn More About Forklift Safety

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Forklift Training

Forklifts are pivotal in diverse industries, but their safe and efficient operation requires proper training. Understanding crucial aspects such as a forklift’s weight is imperative to ensure your team’s safety and maximise forklift performance. Discover more about forklift operator training from our team of experienced instructors. Contact us today to equip your workforce with the knowledge and skills needed for secure, effective forklift use.

HIAB Trucks: An Ultimate Guide

In the fast-paced world of logistics and transportation, the need for efficient and safe material handling solutions is paramount. HIAB trucks have emerged as a reliable and versatile option for various industries, enabling seamless loading and unloading operations. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of lorry-mounted cranes, exploring their definition, purpose, advantages, key components, and, most importantly, the significance of proper HIAB training to ensure safe and effective operations.

What are HIAB Trucks? 

HIAB trucks, also known as loader cranes or knuckle boom cranes, are specialised vehicles equipped with a hydraulically operated crane mounted on the truck. These cranes have multiple hinged sections, allowing them to fold compactly when not in use and extend to reach impressive heights when needed. The primary purpose of HIAB cranes is to efficiently self-load,and unload where forklifts are unavailable, and transport heavy or bulky cargo, making them essential in various industries like construction, transportation, and logistics.

What does HIAB Stand for?

The HIAB in “HIAB truck” stands for “Hydrauliska Industri AB,” which translates to “Hydraulic Industries Ltd.” in English. HIAB is a brand name that originated from the Swedish company Hydrauliska Industri AB, which was founded in 1944. The company specialised in hydraulic lifting and loading solutions, and their innovative loader cranes became popularly known as HIAB cranes.

Over time, the brand “HIAB” became synonymous with loader cranes and material handling equipment, and today, HIAB is one of the most well-known and reputable names in the industry. Many people refer to loader cranes mounted on trucks as “HIAB trucks”, regardless of the actual brand of the crane. It is important to note that there are various manufacturers of loader cranes, and not all loader cranes mounted on trucks are manufactured by HIAB.

Types of HIAB Trucks and Their Applications

HIAB trucks are available in various configurations, each tailored to meet specific requirements. Let’s explore the two common types of HIAB trucks and their distinct applications.

Knuckle Boom HIAB Trucks (Articulated HIAB Trucks)

Knuckle boom HIAB trucks are renowned for their flexibility and precision in material handling. They feature multiple folding sections, which allow the boom to articulate. This design enables operators to manoeuvre loads with remarkable accuracy, making them ideal for tasks in urban areas with limited space and obstacles. These trucks are commonly used for construction site deliveries, placing heavy equipment on rooftops, and transporting materials over buildings or other structures. The articulating feature allows them to reach difficult-to-access locations, making them a versatile choice for various material handling needs.

Stiff Boom HIAB Trucks 

Stiff boom HIAB trucks, as the name suggests, have a fixed, straight boom that provides superior lifting capacities. These trucks are engineered to handle heavy-duty lifting tasks, making them an excellent choice for demanding industrial applications. They excel at tasks that require lifting extremely heavy loads over short distances. Unlike knuckle boom HIAB trucks, stiff boom variants raise and lower loads vertically using a hydraulic winch. Consequently, they are slightly less flexible in terms of manoeuvrability, but their robust lifting capabilities more than compensate for this limitation. Stiff boom HIAB trucks are commonly used to load and unload cargo ships, place heavy machinery on construction sites, and transport oversized industrial equipment.

In summary, the choice between knuckle boom and stiff boom HIAB trucks depends on the specific requirements of each operation. Knuckle boom trucks are preferred when precision and versatility are essential, while stiff boom trucks excel in heavy lifting applications where raw lifting power is paramount. Both types of HIAB trucks contribute significantly to streamlining material handling operations in various industries, providing reliable solutions for a wide array of logistical challenges.

Key Components of HIAB Vehicles

HIAB trucks are sophisticated vehicles designed to optimise efficiency and safety during loading and unloading operations. They incorporate several key components that seamlessly work together, enabling precise and controlled handling of various loads. 


The boom forms the main structure of a HIAB truck’s crane system. It is an extendable arm that reaches out to lift and move the loads. HIAB cranes have hydraulically operated telescopic booms, allowing them to extend to considerable lengths when needed. This versatility enables operators to reach materials at varying distances, providing optimal flexibility during material handling tasks. Additionally, the boom is designed to retract compactly when not in use, minimising the overall footprint of the crane and enhancing the truck’s manoeuvrability.

Hydraulic System:

The hydraulic system serves as the powerhouse of the HIAB truck’s crane. It generates the force required to lift, fold, extend, and control the boom’s movements. The hydraulic system uses pressurised fluid, which flows through a series of hydraulic cylinders and hoses. When the operator activates the controls, the hydraulic fluid is directed to specific cylinders, creating the necessary force to extend or retract the boom and lift or lower the loads. The hydraulic system’s efficiency ensures smooth and responsive crane movements, enhancing the overall performance of the HIAB truck.


Stabilisers are crucial components that provide stability and balance to the HIAB truck during crane operation. They are extendable supports located near the truck’s chassis, deployed to create a stable base when the crane is lifting heavy loads. By extending the stabilisers, the truck gains increased stability, reducing the risk of tipping during lifting operations. These stabilisers also compensate for uneven terrains, ensuring a level platform for safe and secure material handling. The stabilisers play a vital role in preventing accidents and maintaining the safety of both the operator and the loads being lifted.

Control System:

The control system of a HIAB truck is a sophisticated set of interfaces that allows the operator to precisely control the crane’s movements. The controls enable the operator can extend, retract, raise, and lower the boom with precision. The control system also enables fine adjustments during delicate material handling tasks, contributing to the overall safety and efficiency of the crane’s operation.

The key components of HIAB trucks work in synergy to create a reliable and efficient material handling solution. The boom provides reach and flexibility, while the hydraulic system generates the necessary power to move heavy loads. Stabilisers ensure stability and balance, and the control system empowers the operator to handle tasks with precision and safety. The integration of these components makes HIAB trucks indispensable tools in various industries where efficient and safe material handling is paramount.

Advantages of Using HIAB Trucks

HIAB trucks offer a host of benefits to various industries:

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

HIAB trucks streamline material handling processes, reducing loading and unloading times. They enable operators to perform in remote areas and improve overall productivity. Securely load, transport, and unload cargo without additional cranes or lifting equipment.

Enhanced Safety Features

HIAB trucks are equipped with safety mechanisms to protect operators and transported goods, minimising the risk of accidents and injuries.

HIAB Truck Safety Considerations

Safety is of paramount importance when operating HIAB trucks. Some crucial safety considerations include:

  1. Weight Capacity and Load Limits: Operators must strictly adhere to the truck’s weight capacity and never exceed load limits to maintain stability and prevent accidents.
  2. Proper Securing Techniques: Different types of cargo require specific securing methods to prevent shifting during transport, ensuring the safety of both the cargo and road users.
  3. Maintaining Stability: Stabilisers must be used on uneven surfaces during crane operation.
  4. Safe Working Practices: Operators must follow safe working practices, such as maintaining a safe distance from the load and powerlines to prevent accidents.

The Importance of HIAB Operator Training

Proper HIAB training is imperative for safely and efficiently operating a HIAB truck.

  1. Legal Requirements and Certifications: Although you are not legally required to hold a specific HIAB operator qualification, you must be trained and competent to use lorry mounted cranes under PUWER regulations. The best way to meet these legal standards is through accredited HIAB operator training.
  2. Reduced Risks of Accidents: Trained operators are better equipped to handle challenging situations, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
  3. Avoiding Damage: Adequately trained operators can handle the HIAB truck and cargo with precision, minimising the risk of damage to goods and the vehicle itself.

HIAB trucks have revolutionised material handling in various industries, offering increased efficiency, adaptability, and safety. By investing in the training of HIAB truck operators, companies can ensure compliance with industry regulations, minimise accidents, and optimise productivity, making utilising HIAB trucks a prudent and rewarding choice for many businesses.

Accredited HIAB Training

If you want to access the many benefits of HIAB trucks you will need the appropriate training. Our dedicated team of HIAB operator trainers provide excellent accredited courses from industry renowned accreditors ITSSAR, AITT, and RTITB. Our Lorry loader training covers Pre-use checks, HSE, LOLER, and PUWER regulations, employer and employee responsibilities, safe working practices, and more.

Learn more about our HIAB training here.


What industries use HIAB trucks? 

HIAB trucks are used in various industries, including construction, transportation, and logistics.

What safety features do HIAB trucks have? 

HIAB trucks are equipped with several safety features to ensure operator and cargo safety. HIAB truck safety features include stabilisers, load limiters, and control systems.

Are there any age or experience requirements for HIAB truck operators? 

There is no requirement to be a HGV/LGV driver to be trained on the HIAB Crane. As long as you have received adequate basic training, you can operate this crane (but not drive the lorry). A school leaver can be trained to operate a lorry crane. The Employer will have to carry out a specific risk assessment in relation to the young person.

For further guidance see Regulation 19 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Managing or health and Safety (HSG 65).

Learn More About Crane and Forklift Safety

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A Guide To Forklift Types


In today’s fast-paced industrial landscape, the efficient movement of goods and materials is paramount. This is where forklifts, the workhorses of the material handling industry, come into play. With their remarkable lifting capabilities and manoeuvrability, forklifts have become indispensable assets in warehouses, construction sites, and various other settings.

However, not all forklifts are created equal. There are several distinct types, each purpose-built to cater to specific tasks and working environments. Understanding the differences and capabilities of various forklift types is crucial in choosing the right equipment to maximise productivity, ensure operator safety, and optimise efficiency.

This guide will explore the diverse range of forklifts available in today’s market. From counterbalance forklifts to reach trucks and electric-powered and rough terrain models, we will delve into their unique features, applications, and advantages. Whether you’re a business owner, warehouse manager, or simply curious about these remarkable machines, this guide will serve as your go-to resource for understanding the various types of forklifts and their suitability for specific material handling needs.

So, let’s look at your forklift options and discover the perfect lifting solution for your operational requirements!

What is a Counterbalance Forklift?

A counterbalance forklift is a type of forklift specifically designed to ensure stability when carrying heavy loads. Unlike reach trucks, which employ different methods for load stabilisation, counterbalance forklifts utilise larger counterweights positioned at the rear. These counterweights enable the forklift to lift and transport heavier weights effectively. The counterbalance mechanism stabilises the forklift, significantly minimising the risk of toppling over. As a result, counterbalance forklifts enhance the safety of operators and staff members by providing a secure and reliable solution for handling substantial loads.

What is a Reach Forklift?

A reach forklift, similar to a counterbalance forklift, is designed for efficient material handling. Unlike counterbalance forklifts, reach trucks utilise an extending mast and forks. The extending feature enables the reach forklift to reach greater heights and access items positioned deep within racking systems. This makes them ideal for high-density storage and order-picking tasks. While counterbalance forklifts rely on counterweights for stability, reach forklifts rely on their extended mast and stabilising legs to maintain balance. Reach forklifts can be used in relatively confined spaces but generally have wider aisle requirements than other narrow aisle forklifts.

With their ability to manoeuvre in confined spaces, reach forklifts are ideal for narrow isles in warehouses.

What is a Pallet Truck?

A pallet truck, or a pallet jack, is a manual or electric-powered device for lifting and moving pallets. It features two forks that slide underneath the pallet, allowing the operator to lift and transport the load easily. Pallet trucks are commonly used for short-distance transportation within warehouses, retail environments, and loading docks. They are efficient in handling pallets and can manoeuvre in tight spaces. With their simple yet effective design, pallet trucks provide a cost-effective solution for moving goods and materials, increasing efficiency in material handling operations.

What is a Pallet Stacker?

A pallet stacker is essentially a more advanced pallet truck. Whilst a standard pallet truck can move pallets at ground level, a pallet stacker introduces lifting capabilities. This allows you to stack pallets in addition to effortlessly moving them around your warehouse. Pallet stackers have forks that can lift pallets vertically to desired heights. They are commonly electric-powered and available in both walk-behind and ride-on configurations. They provide efficient and controlled stacking of pallets for a cost-effective pallet handling solution.

What is an Order Picker?

An order picker truck is a specialised type of forklift for retrieving individual items from high-level racking systems in warehouses. It typically features an elevated platform that allows the operator to reach and retrieve items at various heights. Order pickers are designed to optimise order fulfilment processes by enabling efficient picking of goods for shipment or distribution. They offer enhanced visibility and manoeuvrability in narrow aisles, making them ideal for high-density storage environments. With their ability to precisely access specific items, order pickers improve productivity, accuracy, and efficiency in order picking, ultimately streamlining warehouse operations.

What is a Telescopic Handler?

A telescopic handler, or telehandler, is a versatile lifting machine commonly used in construction and agriculture. It features a telescopic boom that can extend forwards and upwards, providing enhanced reach and lifting capabilities. The telescopic handler combines the functionalities of a forklift and a crane, allowing it to lift, move, and place loads with precision. It is equipped with various attachments, such as forks, buckets, and lifting hooks, making it adaptable for a wide range of tasks. With its telescopic boom, the telehandler offers flexibility, efficiency, and improved productivity in handling materials, making it an indispensable asset in diverse work environments.

What is a Side Loader?

A side loader, also known as a side-loading forklift, is a specialised type of forklift designed for handling long loads. Unlike conventional forklifts, which lift loads from the front, side loaders can pick up and transport loads from the side. This makes them ideal for handling timber, piping, and other lengthy materials. With their unique design, side loaders provide efficient and safe handling of long loads, optimising storage space and improving productivity in various industries such as timber, manufacturing, and logistics.

What is an Articulated Forklift?

Articulated forklifts, also known as flexi or Bendi forklifts, have a unique design featuring a centrally mounted articulating mast. This design allows the forklift to bend or flex in the middle, providing exceptional manoeuvrability in narrow spaces and confined areas. The articulating mast enables the forklift to operate in tight aisles and easily navigate obstacles. Bendi forklifts offer much of the speed and versatility of counterbalance forklifts with the added benefit of more easily traversing narrow aisles.

What is a VNA Truck?

A VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) truck, also known as a turret truck or narrow aisle forklift, is a specialised type of forklift designed for efficient operation in extremely narrow aisles. These trucks feature a unique design with a rotating mast and forks that can lift and lower loads while the truck remains stationary. This allows them to operate in aisles as narrow as 1.6 meters (5 feet). VNA trucks are typically used in high-density storage facilities to maximise storage capacity. High-density warehouses allow you to maximise storage space by narrowing the width of aisles. VNA forklifts make high-density storage viable and, therefore, can help create significant cost savings. 

Accredited forklift operator training

Having the right forklifts in your warehouse or worksite can completely revolutionise your business. Quicker order picking, more efficient warehouse storage and a number of other benefits can save you large sums. But having the right forklift is only the start. You must have the corresponding training in order to safely and effectively operate them. For accredited forklift operator training for any of the forklift types discussed in this guide, speak to one of our accredited forklift instructors. Our experts are familiar with the ins and outs of all these machines and can even offer low-level, medium-level, and high-level order picker operator training – we have all your needs covered. Our excellent forklift operator training with give you the skills and knowledge to get the most from your forklift whilst upholding the highest safety standards. Get in touch to learn more. 

Learn more about forklift training

Want to know more about forklift training and forklift safety? Get a head start on your training with our useful blog posts and guides. Here are a couple of great reads to start with…

The Biggest Do’s and Don’ts of Forklift Safety

A forklift is a massively helpful piece of equipment to have on-site. These motor-driven industrial vehicles have a forked platform to lift and lower cargo appropriately and are designed to move and carry heavy loads over short distances. They work by maintaining a centre of gravity while transporting heavy cargo, making the movement of large equipment, panels or products easy and efficient. 

But when it comes to operating these handy pieces of machinery, it can be difficult and dangerous. In fact, they can only be driven by trained operatives who have undergone forklift training to learn the skills and manoeuvres necessary for the equipment. 

Luckily, forklift safety is our forte at HL Training. We have the operative training courses your team needs to handle these machines effectively and efficiently. To help you get started before training or to refresh your knowledge, we have put together some important forklift health and safety rules you need to know. 

Do’s and Don’t’s of Forklift Safety 

Did you know that in the UK, on average, 1,300 forklift-related accidents occur every year? This is according to the UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA), which theorises that five forklift accidents occur every workday. 

So, it is essential that your team tasked with operating a forklift is trained, certified, and competent to ensure they can handle the machinery safely and efficiently. Here are some forklift health and safety rules to better understand how nuanced forklift training can be. 

Don’t Overload the Machine 

As we have mentioned, a forklift operates by maintaining a centre of gravity when lifting heavy loads. For this reason, it is imperative that you do not attempt to overload your machine past what it is capable of. If you do overload your forklift, you risk the vehicle tipping over due to unevenly distributed weight or the cargo falling off the machine and causing injury to yourself or others. 

Similarly, a load which it too large for your forklift vehicle can obstruct the view, leading to further accidents caused by poor visibility when driving. You should also not stack loads on your forklift incorrectly, for example, stacking heavy items on top of lighter objects. 

Do Drive Responsibly 

If you were driving a car, you would ensure you maintain speed limits and adhere to road safety. So, why wouldn’t you take the same care and responsibility when driving a forklift?

A forklift is a vehicle, so you must ensure operatives drive them responsibly and safely. This means driving the forklift at a speed that allows you to come to a stop safely, especially in the event of an emergency. You also need to slow down speed as you turn a corner or approach an intersection. Failure to do the former can result in the forklift tipping over as it rounds a turn. The latter can lead to collisions with other machinery or colleagues, resulting in injury. 

Don’t Neglect Training 

As you may be aware, anyone wishing to be a forklift operator must have appropriate training before attempting to use it. Certified training for forklift operators is recorded with an ID card that can be presented to visitors on-site, managers and supervisors if needs be. Training must also be given by a trusted provider, like our team at HL Training, who can deliver accredited forklift training. 

Even if you have had previous forklift operative training, you must ensure you keep up to date with refresher training courses. This ensures you do not forget valuable tips and stay updated with the latest safety advice and practices. 

Do Maintain Your Forklift & Equipment 

Just like you should keep up-to-date on the latest safety regulations and forklift training, you must ensure your forklift vehicle also maintains quality. You should carry out regular maintenance checks on your forklift and ensure it works optimally and safely. Failure to carry out regular maintenance can mean your forklift fails or breaks down at an inopportune time, resulting in injury to yourself and those around you or damage to the vehicle and load. 

When servicing your forklift, you should pay special attention to the brakes, tyres, and transmission, and the fork itself. Malfunctions with any of these components can be disastrous if left unchecked. If you find the forklift unsafe to operate during your shift, immediately alert your supervisor or manager and do not attempt to use the equipment until it has been fixed. 

Don’t Obstruct Paths 

Typically, your site will have routes and paths most commonly used by forklift operators to navigate. If this is not the case, this should be a system you put into place. It can lower the risk of accidents and collisions onsite as staff members will be more aware of their surroundings. 

It is also important that any paths, roads or routes used on site are free of any obstructions and always kept clear. Similarly, you should avoid storing shelves, bins and other miscellaneous equipment on corners, even if not directly on the road, as this can decrease visibility.

Do Be Aware of Pedestrians 

Finally, forklift operators should always be aware of their surroundings and pedestrians. It is the forklift driver’s responsibility for not only their own safety but also for those around them. This means you must be conscious of pedestrians walking or colleagues working on the site around you and not operate the machine if they are in close contact. 

Ensure you have suitable driver aids, such as mirrors and CCTV, attached to your forklift if you have identified any blind spots. You are also responsible for alerting those around you of safety precautions with the forklift. For example, they should not attempt to walk under the fork or load when raised. 

How to Improve Forklift Safety

Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about forklift operative training. The above information is just a snippet of the many rules, tips and advice that form the forklift health and safety rules. With appropriate and accredited training, you can ensure you and your team have all the necessary information and tools to operate a forklift safely and effectively. It also ensures your site and operations meet the standards and regulations required. Read more about forklift operator training available from HL Training and about us today.

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Do You Need a Forklift Licence? Spoiler: It Doesn’t Exist!

Do You Need a Forklift Licence? Spoiler: It Doesn’t Exist!

Do you need a forklift license? We see this question a lot, and the simple answer is no. You do not need a license to use a forklift. Not only do you not need one, but you couldn’t get one if you wanted one. Forklift Licenses technically don’t exist. However, this doesn’t mean anyone is free to operate a forklift. There are still rules and regulations surrounding their use, and you must undergo appropriate forklift operator training. They’re incredibly useful pieces of machinery, but can also be dangerous. They can cause serious injury if misused, so should only be used by properly trained operators. 

You may not require a license, but there is still much to know and do before operating a forklift. This guide will look at the health and safety regulations surrounding forklifts and what training is required to operate them. 

The Basic Forklift Operator Requirements

Before we look at what training, qualifications and accreditations you may need to operate a forklift, we need to address a few basics. There is little point diving into the intricacies of forklift operator training if you may be ineligible to use a forklift for a much simpler reason. 

How Old Must You Be To Use A Forklift?

The minimum age requirement to operate a forklift is minimum school leaving age (MSLA). This is outlined in the HSE Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, which states a forklift may be driven by someone of minimum school leaving age. However, there may be stricter requirements imposed by employers. Some employers may require you to be as old as 18 before permitting you to operate a forklift. 

Are There Health Requirements To Drive A Forklift?

In addition to meeting the age requirements, you must be medically fit to operate heavy machinery. The full details around medical requirements are described in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) rider-operated lift trucks approved code of practice (which replaces the HSG6 booklet). The fitness requirements are the same as those of a standard UK driving license (though you do not require a license) and include your levels of vision and hearing and risk of epileptic fits. 

Who Is Responsible For Ensuring Safety In Forklift Operations?

Employers are given specific responsibilities in the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. PUWER regulations stipulate that employers must ensure employees working with equipment receive the appropriate training. Equipment training must cover the proper use of the equipment, the associated risks, and safety precautions. Employers also have to ensure that the correct equipment is being used for the intended purpose.

What Forklift Training Is Available?

At HL Training, we provide accredited forklift operator training for a wide variety of forklifts and types of lifter trucks. The Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport provides workplace transport groupings to categorise the many types of forklift and lift trucks available. We work with ABA lift truck categories and deliver training for equipment from across the various groupings. 

Forklift training courses are available at different levels, from novice courses for beginners to experienced operator courses. In addition to the many operator courses available for the selection of machinery, there are also refresher and conversion courses. Refresher courses are a great way to stay up-to-date and ensure your skills remain sharp. 

Conversion courses are also extremely useful. Available at an instructor’s discretion, a conversion course builds on existing training for other types of forklifts. It can be a more efficient way to earn new accredited certificates for other lift trucks.

In addition to forklift operator training, we also deliver accredited forklift instructor training

All HL Training forklift courses are designed to meet PUWER requirements and prepare learners to operate the particular machine in the workplace safely. 

How Often Is Forklift Training Required?

Forklift refresher training courses are not legally required. However, HSG 136, which gives employers, managers and supervisors advice on regulatory compliance and risk reduction, recommends refresher training every 3-5 years. 

What Forklift Accreditations Are Available?

There are a number of industry-recognised accreditors which cover forklift operator training. Our range of forklift operator and instructor training courses are all accredited by one of three accrediting bodies, ITSSAR, AITT, and RTITB.

What do you receive for completing an accredited course?

Upon completing one of our accredited forklift training courses, you will receive an accredited certificate. We also produce ITSSAR and AITT ID cards; RTITB ID cards are available through RTITB. These ID cards are often mistaken for forklift licenses and are a likely source of some of the confusion. Candidates are also registered on a nationally recognised database:

How Long Do Forklift Operator Certificates Last?

Accredited forklift certificates from the accreditors discussed do not expire – they are for life. However, if your certificate is for an RTITB course, your NORS registration will lapse. You are not required to renew your registration with NORS and may continue operating the appropriate forklift trucks at your employer’s discretion.  ACORNS and TOPS registrations do not technically expire, although refresher training is still recommended at the 3 to 5 year period.

You can renew your NORS registration with a refresher course. An employer may require you to refresh your registration to continue to drive a forklift. Even if an employer does not require it, refresher courses are still recommended. 

Register For Accredited Forklift Training

If you want to upskill your workforce with accredited forklift operator or instructor training, get in touch with HL Training today. We deliver expert on-site and in-house forklift training accredited by the UK’s top accrediting bodies. To speak to a team member, call us on 0117 952 5625 or complete a contact form

Learn More About Operating Forklift And Workplace Safety

To learn more about safely operating forklifts in your workplaces, visit our blog. We have some helpful and informative guides, such as our recent guide to workplace safety, “The Biggest Do’s and Don’ts of Forklift Safety”.

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