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.

Learn more about forklift safety

For more great advice on how to get the most from your forklifts, check out our blog. Here are some helpful guides you may be interested in:

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

For more guidance on forklifts and forklift safety, check out our other blog posts, such as these recommended reads:

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.

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. This is 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. 

Related Articles

HIAB Trucks: An Ultimate Guide

A Guide To Forklift Types

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

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”.

Related Articles

A Guide to Forklift Types

LAST POSTAGE DAY TODAY! Festive Period / Postal Strikes

As you are all well aware, the postal strikes means there is disrupted postage over the festive period. We rely heavily on Royal Mail to deliver our certificates in a timely manner, and unfortunately some of your may have experienced delays due to the lastest strike action.

TODAY is the last day before 3rd January that we will be able to post to you, as our office is CLOSED over the Festive Period.

With this in mind, if you require proof of training the absolute best route to take is below;

STEP ONE – Ensure all outstanding invoices have been paid – we do not release certificates unless they are paid, or you are a business with an account and agreed terms.

STEP TWO – Once you have confirmed invoices are settled, email [email protected] who can check payment has been recieved. Once confirmed we will be able to release a PDF copy of the certificate you. This is a service we usually charge for, but considering the delays and our office closure we can accomodate at no cost over the festive period.

PLEASE NOTE – We will do our best to get back to you asap, however please note any emails will be answered remotely, and may take longer than usual.

We thank you for your patience during these times, and over the festive period.

2022 Festive Period Opening Hours

Training Centre OPEN as Normal (dependant on requirements) – 19th Dec – 22nd Dec

Training Centre CLOSED23rd Dec to 2nd January

Training Centre OPEN as Normal – 3rd Jan 2022

To contact the team over this period please see below;

Email [email protected] to speak to the team

Call 0117 9525625 for URGENT requirements only.

Please also note, we have a scheduled Staff Training day on 19th December – please email [email protected] for any requirements on 19th December only.

Royal Mail Strikes – Expect Certificate Delays

Due to the ongoing strikes in place, we are asking all customers to please expect delays in delivered of any training certficates over the next couple of months.

The strike dates are scheduled as below;

13th October, 20th October, 25th October, and 28th November

In addition, there have also been strikes on the below dates;

30th September, 1st October

To alleviate the issue, please note we can offer a PDF certificate instead of the standard hard copy if desired. Just let us know if you would prefer a PDF instead and we can send it over typically within 48 hours of course completion.

Email : [email protected]
Phone : 01179525625 option 1