A Simple (But Complete) Guide: Forklift Licence Requirements

Forklift drivers are an essential part of a lot of businesses in the UK. Without them, business operations could simply come to a standstill. However, to be able to operate a forklift, you must be fully trained. If you’re looking for information on how to complete your forklift training and the requirements involved to do so, you’re in the right place!

In this guide, we will cover:

  • Do you need a license to drive a forklift in the UK?
  • What are the requirements for a forklift “license”?
  • How long is a forklift certificate valid for?
  • Can you fail forklift training?
  • I’ve lost my forklift certificate, what can I do?
  • Forklift training and refresher courses

Did you know – before we get into this guide, we must point out that there is actually no such thing as a forklift driving ‘license’. Once you pass a forklift training course you will be presented with a certificate. Which means you can then legally drive a forklift. However, people commonly refer to this certificate as a ‘license’.


Do you need a license to drive a forklift in the UK?

No. You don’t need to have a driving license to operate a forklift. As mentioned above, there is in fact no such thing as a ‘forklift license’. However, you will need to complete forklift operator training to comply with safe working practices. It is incredibly important that you go with a provider that provides complete training programmes to ensure that you meet the most up to date legal requirements. 

What does the law have to say?

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations state that employers must make sure that all people who manage any equipment have received sufficient training.

Which includes:

  • The correct use of the equipment
  • Any risks from its use
  • The precautions to take


What are the requirements for a forklift “license”?

The reality is that there are next to no legal requirements in order to drive a forklift at work. However, in order to carry out forklift training, drivers must be:


Forklift drivers must be over the minimum school leaving age, or in specific ports, in which they will have to be 18. Yet, due to the health and safety regulations in most warehouses, drivers will need to be at least 18.


There is no minimum level of fitness required to be a forklift driver. However, the levels of fitness to operate a forklift are generally the same as what is required for a full UK driving licence.

General health considerations include:


Your vision should not be impaired in any way. If glasses or contact lenses are usually worn to aid your sight, they must also be worn when operating a forklift


A forklift operator must be able to clearly hear instructions and warning signals. 


You must have full movement of your body, neck and limbs.


How long is a forklift certificate valid for?

There is no legislation stating how long a forklift certificate is valid for. An employer can quite easily decide that a certificate is valid for 2, 5 or even 10 years. However, it is incredibly important to complete refresher courses in order to keep your knowledge of operating a forklift up to date. As a common rule, employers will generally not accept certificates that are more than three years old.

In addition to maintaining a safe routine by re-assessment, it might be appropriate for employees to retake training courses if they feel it might be appropriate if: users haven’t used forklift trucks for a period time and need a refresher, if they are only occasional users, if unsafe working practices have begun to appear, or there has been a change in the working environment or roles and responsibilities with forklift trucks.

Did you know? The Health and Safety Executive actually requires regular monitoring and assessment to establish if any additional training is required. For this reason, it’s common amongst work places to take refresher courses every 3 years.


Can you fail forklift training?

Yes. But don’t worry, you can retake the training if need be. However, you may be required to pay for the training again.


I’ve lost my forklift certificate, what can I do?

No need to panic! You can contact the Road Transport Industry Training Board, the industry regulator for all forklift training, to request a new one. You will need to fill out their request form and either email or send it to them via post.


Forklift training and refresher courses

I need to complete forklift training, where can I go?

Here at Permatt, we are able to deliver complete forklift training programmes to ensure that you or your employees fully comply with the latest legislative requirements. We can deliver these at our premises in Newcastle at our Killingworth depot, or we can come to your place of work to conduct the training.

I need to do a forklift refresher course, can you help me?

Yes! Here at Permatt, we offer a number of different forklift training courses, including a one-day refresher course. If you would like to know more, please visit our forklift training page.


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