Forklifts are incredibly valuable machines, and they are used in hundreds of different industries ranging from freight and transportation to retail and wholesale. However, not just anyone can operate a forklift, and you actually need to obtain a special licence if you wish to use one in the UK. 

Luckily, there are some simple steps you go through that will help you get a forklift licence and be able to use one in your job or daily life. There are also other facts you might want to know about forklift licences, such as their cost and expiration dates, and you can discover all of this in the article below.


What is a forklift licence?


In the UK, a forklift licence, also known as a forklift truck operator licence or a lift truck certificate, is a certification that allows individuals to operate forklift trucks in various work environments legally. It is required by law for anyone us ing a forklift on public roads or in the workplace.

To obtain a forklift licence in the UK, individuals must undergo specific training and assessment from an accredited training provider. The training covers theoretical and practical aspects of forklift operation, focusing on safety guidelines, equipment maintenance, load handling, and manoeuvring techniques.

Upon successfully completing the training, candidates receive a certificate or licence, which is evidence of their competence in operating forklifts. It is important to note that forklift licences in the UK have an expiry date, are typically valid for a few years, and may require periodic renewal or refresher training to ensure operators remain up-to-date with the latest safety practices and regulations.


How to get a forklift licence


Not just anyone can get a forklift licence in the UK, and there are various steps you have to go through. If you wish to learn how to operate a forklift as well as be able to use one in practice, you will need to go through educational courses, which may take some time. Therefore, only follow these steps if you are committed to gaining your licence.


Find an accredited training provider

Firstly, finding a Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) accredited training provider is crucial. Look for training providers recognised by accrediting bodies such as the Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA) and the National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS). These bodies ensure that the training meets the necessary standards.


Choose the appropriate course

Once you have identified a training provider, choose the appropriate course that aligns with the type of forklift you intend to operate. Forklifts come in various categories, such as counterbalance, reach, or rough terrain. Selecting the right course ensures you receive training specific to the type of forklift you will be operating.


Attend the training course

Next, attend the training course, which typically includes both theoretical and practical components. The academic portion covers essential topics related to forklift operations, such as safety procedures, regulations, and best practices. The practical training involves hands-on experience operating a forklift, including manoeuvring, load handling, and safety demonstrations.


Complete the training and assessment

After completing the training, you must undergo assessments to evaluate your knowledge and skills. This usually involves a written exam to test your understanding of the theoretical aspects and a practical test to assess your ability to operate the forklift safely and efficiently.


Obtain the forklift licence

Upon successfully passing the training and assessments, you will be issued a forklift licence in the form of a certificate. This licence proves your competency to operate the specific category of forklift covered in the training. It is important to note that forklift licences in the UK have expiration dates, typically ranging from three to five years. You may need to undergo refresher training or renewal courses to maintain your licence.


How long does a forklift licence last?


In the UK, the duration of a forklift licence, also known as a forklift truck operator licence or lift truck certificate, varies depending on the accrediting body and the type of forklift licence obtained. Generally, forklift licences in the UK have an expiration period of three to five years.

It is important to note that the specific requirements and renewal periods may differ among accrediting bodies and training providers. Therefore, you should check with your particular training provider or the accrediting body that issued your forklift licence to determine your certification’s exact duration and renewal process.

To ensure ongoing competency and adherence to updated safety practices, individuals may need to undergo refresher training or assessments before renewing their forklift licence. Regular renewal or retraining helps keep forklift operators up-to-date with the latest regulations and ensures the safe operation of forklift trucks.


How much does a forklift licence cost?


The cost of a forklift licence in the UK can vary depending on several factors, including the training provider, the type of forklift licence, the duration of the training course, and any additional services or materials included. Generally, the cost of obtaining a forklift licence can range from £100 to £500 or more.

It’s important to note that the price may include the training course, assessment fees, and issuing the certificate or licence. However, additional expenses, such as transportation to the training facility or any required medical examinations, may not be included in the training cost.

To get an accurate estimate of the cost of a forklift licence, it is recommended to contact different accredited training providers, compare their offerings, and inquire about the specific details and breakdown of fees associated with the training course.