Have you ever considered working in the haulage or logistics industries? Have you wondered whether or not there are jobs available that do not require HGV or PCV licences? Well, you’re in luck. There are plenty of exciting opportunities in both industries requiring a minimal amount of training yet offering excellent pay and benefits. One of them is forklift driving.
Logistics companies, manufacturers, and industrial enterprises all across the UK employ an army of forklift operators that provide a viable service moving equipment and materials throughout the job site. Without the dedicated forklift drivers employed across the country, materials handling would be much more difficult. At the HGV Training Centre, we are proud to support forklift drivers by providing top quality training and certification programmes.
We believe it is important for you to have a working knowledge of the general concepts of forklift driving if you are considering training with us. To that end, we have put together this guide that will explain everything you need to know in order to decide whether training is right for you or not.
The first thing to get out of the way is to understand that there is no formal licencing authority for forklift drivers. There is no official licence to be issued either. Some industry experts contend that formal forklift training is required by law, others maintain it is a matter of individual choice. The confusion is directly related to a single paragraph found in 1974 Safety and Work Act that states:
“The provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all his employees.”
The paragraph is vague, at best, but it does indicate that employers have a legal responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure safety at work. And because UK courts would generally rule that providing forklift training is both reasonable and practical, the paragraph effectively makes some form of training necessary for forklift drivers. The only questions remaining are how formal the training should be and whether or not certification should be provided.
The industry has worked with the government to develop training courses and certification schemes that remove all ambiguity and confusion from the equation. For all intents and purposes, working as a forklift driver means undergoing training, whether in-house or through a company like ours, culminating with a forklift certificate.
In the UK, there are six accrediting organisations approved by the Health and Safety Executive:
All training providers, including the HGV Training Centre, offer forklift training courses according to the standards of at least one of the approved accrediting organisations. Certificates issued to drivers reflect the standards of the appropriate organisation whose credentials appear on those certificates.
It would be impossible to tell you everything you need to know about forklift driving without explaining why training is necessary. To start with, forklift trucks are specifically designed to carry hefty loads in confined spaces. This makes their shape, weight distribution, and size quite a bit different from most other vehicles. Driving one without a load on the forks is considerably different by itself; add a load and forklift operation becomes quite challenging. Doing so safely requires special skills that can only be acquired through training and practice.
In order to operate a forklift safely, you need to be trained in the following:
Most brand-new forklift drivers have little appreciation for the fact that built-in counterbalances only go so far in preventing a forklift from tipping over. Forklifts, by design, are intended to remain in balance under a full load. When a forklift is either empty or overloaded, balance automatically becomes an issue. Drivers need to know how to deal with these issues safely.
It is not likely in this day and age that an individual would have an easy time getting a job driving a forklift without at least some training. Most companies today are looking for formal training and certification for all new hires. In so doing, they are able to hire drivers ready to get to work with no need for in-house training. If you are hoping to be a professional forklift operator, you would do well to undergo training and certification before you start looking for work.
The initial certification courses offered by the HGV Training Centre are available under three options:
We may be able to offer other types of Forklift courses but in our experience we have found that the the courses described above are suitab le for the vast majority of those wanting to operate a Forklift truck.
As for the cost, different training companies have different pricing structures. Our courses are priced according to the kind of training individual drivers need. We can assure you that all training is very affordable for most budgets. If you want to be trained and do not have the cash on hand, we work with a financing partner to provide financing for all the classes we teach. Be sure to ask about this option when you contact us.
Just as there are no formal licencing requirements for forklift drivers, there is also no official means of maintaining certification. Our experience as a training company has led us to develop several recommendations for all of our forklift drivers in this regard.
First, we recommend every working driver obtain some sort of documentation proving training and certification have been completed. When you train with us, we provide that documentation as part of our package. However, if you have been trained in-house by your employer, the documentation may not be forthcoming. Ask for it. You may need it in the future should you be forced to look for employment elsewhere.
Second, we strongly encourage drivers to undergo refresher courses on a periodic basis. How often really depends on the environment in which you work and the confidence you have in your abilities. We would say that at least once per year should be the minimum. Even professional drivers can benefit from annual training designed to refresh their knowledge and skills.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about forklift driving in order to decide whether training is right for you or not. If you are ready to begin training in preparation for becoming a professional, you need only contact the HGV Training Centre. We operate more than four dozen training centres throughout the UK for your convenience. And with new classes forming regularly, you can get started right away.
If you would like to learn more about training to be a forklift operator please select one of our related articles from the headings below. Alternatively, you can call or email of friendly expert customer support team at any time.
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