News items relating to forklift trucks

Licence to drive a forklift? There is no such thing!

driving licenceJuly 2013. The following is an article by Owen Delaney, Technical Manager of the Fork Lift Truck Association which descibes the myth of the forklift licence.

"Reviewing a random sample of job advertisements for Fork lift truck operators the Fork lift Truck Association found that no fewer than 85% wrongly stipulated 'forklift  truck licence' or 'forklift licence' as a requirement despite there being no such document in the UK and no central licensing authority. This is no harmless myth. By relying upon this fictional document to verily operators’ skills, employers are putting workers’ lives at risk. Giving your workers carte blanche to use a Fork lift truck without the right training can be disastrous.

Forklift licence - What does the law require?

Under Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, (PUWER 98], every employer has a responsibility to ensure that employees have adequate training before they use work equipment. Training should be given by either an in-house or eternal trainer on each type at equipment they may need to operate.

Following the training, the provider should then issue a certificate or other document, detailing the results. But before an employee actually operates any equipment, his or her employer is required to give written authority that is specific to the task to be undertaken, including the location and equipment involved.

Most importantly, this authorisation is not readily transferable to another company. For how long this authority remains valid is determined solely by the employer. Best practice is that employers ensure that the performance of all operators is formally monitored.

Foreign forklift licences

In many countries, such as Poland, fork lift truck operators are issued with licences. We frequently hear stories of individuals from these countries, who, seeking employment in the UK as fork lift truck operators, offer this licence, with authentic translation, as proof of their operating ability. Whilst there may be no reason to doubt the authenticity of such a document, it would be unwise for a potential employer to accept it at face value. At the very least, the skills required to obtain that licence may not have been appropriate to either the kind of truck or the operating environment for which the individual is to be employed.

When handling Foreign  licences, it is best to treat them as you would a training certificate from an unknown, unaccredited trainer: with caution. To ensure that you're operating safely within the law, always arrange for employees to be formally assessed, following up with any additional training that may be required".

For details of training required by UK law check out the new Approved Code Of Practice. (April 2013)