Last month we posted a series of blog posts covering ‘What we do’, so following on we would like to break them down a little more and today lets talk forklift truck training.

Over the last ten years the UK forklift market has risen dramatically, one of the latest figures estimate there to be over 35 thousand machines in operation, with manufactures reporting sales doubling in the last 10 years.

Lift trucks are using in this country for a wide variety of uses, which are mainly for moving materials and goods.  However the HSE report annually that lift trucks are involved in about a quarter of all workplace transport accidents. The deaths and injuries caused can ruin lives and businesses. Even when an incident does not cause injury, it can still mean costly damage to lift trucks, buildings, fittings and goods.

To try and address the issue the HSE has published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance called Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training and safe use. Approved Code of Practice and guidance.  This is a free to download booklet covering operator training and safe use.

There is a minimum standard of basic training people should receive before they are allowed to operate certain types of lift truck – even if they only operate the equipment occasionally.  It is the Employers duty to comply with the relevant legislation, ensuring that all operators you employ, both new and existing, are
adequately trained and, when necessary, provide additional or refresher training.

If you are self-employed, you need to ensure you have undergone the same type of training, achieving the same standard, as employers are required to provide to their employees. Basic training should be at least to the standard of the ACOP mentioned above.

Forklift Truck Training

Who should you train?

Potential lift-truck operators should be:

  • reasonably fit, both physically and mentally, to safely control and operate lift trucks, with the learning ability and potential to become competent operators;
  • reliable, with a responsible attitude to their work;
  • physically capable – you should assess this on an individual basis. You may need to get medical advice and make reasonable adjustments to enable some disabled people to work as lift-truck operators. The Equality Act 2010 is likely to apply;
  • over the minimum school-leaving age (16), except in ports, where they must be at least 18 years old, unless they are undergoing a suitable course of training, properly supervised by a competent person. Children under 16 should never operate lift trucks.

How long should a basic training course last?

It is difficult to specify how long a course should last as there are many issues which affect the rate of learning. Every person is different and therefore our courses are tailored to the candidates individual needs. Typically for novice candidates with no experience the training course duration is 3-5 days.

Operators with some experience of lift trucks or relevant experience of similar vehicles may need less extensive training than those with no experience, however, do not overestimate the value of such experience.

Forklift truck training ratios

We follow the training ratio’s advised by our Awarding Body NPORS, who are a part of the ABA Workplace Transport Group.  This group is made up of the leading training awarding bodies in the UK, who have all agreed to a standard of lift truck training – so basically they are all singing off the same hymn sheet.

Ratios for Lift trucks are advised to be:

Trainee : Instructor : Truck   3 : 1 : 1

Novices 3 trainees : 1 Instructor : 1 Truck. 

This is to enable the instructor to demonstrate each part of the practical training and enable the trainee to obtain adequate hands-on experience. There should be enough time for each trainee to have as much as required practical experience time operating the truck, to become a safe operator and to do so under close supervision.

Forklift Truck Training


Our instructors continuously assess a trainee’s progress to ensure they achieve the required standards throughout the training duration. At the end of the course, the trainees will have undertaken a theory and practical assessment, to demonstrate that they have the necessary practical and theoretical knowledge and skills to operate lift trucks safely.

Monitoring and assessment

Lift-truck operators, even those who are trained and experienced, need to be routinely monitored and, where necessary, refresher training or experienced worker tests undertaken to make sure they continue to operate lift trucks safely.

How often do I need to provide refresher training?

There is no specific time period after which you need to provide refresher training or formal assessment. However, the HSE recommends refresher training or testing every 3 to 5 years, or earlier if there is an accident, incident or long period of absence from operating a truck. This is the best way to make sure employees remain competent. Where you adopt this approach, you will still need to monitor performance, in case operators need extra training before the set period ends.

Refresher training

Regular refresher training will ensure operators:

  • maintain good driving habits
  • learn new skills where appropriate
  • reassess their abilities

Refresher training or retesting might also be appropriate where operators:

  • have not used trucks for some time
  • are occasional users
  • appear to have developed unsafe working practices
  • have had an accident or near miss
  • have changed their working practices or environment

Our one day refresher courses for up to 3 candidates, include instructor presentation and a theory test, remedial tuition if the candidates have any bad habits etc. whilst conducting the practical assessment.

We also offer a one day reassessment only, which is for up to 4 delegates and is just testing only.   This is for candidates who are experienced workers and do not need the re-training element of the course, just testing only.

Forklift Truck Training

Supervisor training

It is essential that supervisors have enough training and knowledge to recognise safe and unsafe practices. This does not mean they need full operator training, but they do need to understand the risks involved, and how to avoid or prevent them.  It is good practice for Employers to offer training courses for supervisors and managers of lift-truck operations.

Supervisors should be able to:

  • carry out an effective observation and know what to look for
  • communicate effectively with operators and line managers
  • recognise unsafe practice and behaviour
  • maintain and promote health and safety standards

It is essential that newly trained operators are given specific job and familiarisation training as well as basic training. Once they have completed the three stages of training, you should give operators, including occasional users, the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge acquired during training into practice at the workplace to reinforce that training.

The course we offer is called N036 Fork Lift Truck Supervisor Awareness – an here is a link for more details.

ABA Workplace Transport Groupings

As mentioned earlier, our Awarding Body NPORS, are a part of the ABA Workplace Transport Group.  This group made up of the leading training awarding bodies in the UK have all come together and produced a list of all the lift trucks and placed each into groupings depending on the machines.   Each of these groups is tested separately, so an operator with basic training on one type of lift truck or handling attachment cannot safely operate others, on which they have not been trained, without additional conversion training.  For more details or a full list of the groupings, please email the office.

Forklift Truck Training

Other Training

Even though today we are talking about forklift truck training, we provide much more with over 100 different courses in our portfolio  a full course brochure can be downloaded from this website – so have a look at what we do.

Our trained office staff are waiting to help you with any Lift Truck or other health and safety training requirements or questions regarding the courses we offer.   Just click on this link for the ‘Get in Touch‘ option or give us a call on 01606 832 556.

The Kentra Training Team are waiting to help.

Forklift Truck Training

Established Feb 1997

Proud to be celebrating delivering quality training for over 25 years.

More details on our NPORS Counterbalance Training Blog

N001 Official NPORS Counterbalanced Lift Truck Training

Industrial Counterbalance Lift Truck – our A 2 Z of Safety

Forklift Truck Training Courses