There has always been a huge demand for UK forklift licence renewal and certification services to supply competent forklift operators to fill the ranks of various industries in the country. However, the term “licence” as used here, is not strictly correct.
Rather, potential forklift operators in the UK are usually issued with certificates of training to provide documentary proof that they have received the necessary training and instruction to qualify them for this job.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all trainees complete the mandatory testing and training to meet all the mandatory performance standards and criteria set out by the licensing authority and accreditation body before the individual can be assigned any duties as a forklift operator. The Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) and the Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR) are among the most popular recognized institutions providing forklift testing and certification in the UK.
Handling a Forklift without Certification Can Be Costly!
Although there is actually nothing like a forklift operating licence in literal existence, operating forklifts without certification is both illegal and dangerous in the UK. Therefore, for you to be able to operate a forklift legally, you must first obtain a forklift operator certificate that is approved by the relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authorities in the UK. As recently as 2012, statistics indicated that employers that allowed uncertified personnel to operate forklifts were subjected to fines of up to £4,550 for every occurrence which could be raised to as much as £45,500 if the illegality continued.
UK Forklift Licence Renewal and Certification Process and Costs
While most people in the UK obtain forklift certification through their employer, you also have the added option of getting certified individually via enrolling for a private course either online, or through a relevant training institution in your area. You should thus personally ensure that all your certifications are up to date if your employer requires you to handle a forklift. In a similar manner, when the time comes to take exams to prove your competence as a forklift operator, your employer can arrange to have you take all the certification tests on their premises and using their equipment. However, if you happen to be unemployed currently, you can always sit for an online test at your home or take a written one at a certified facility near you.
While you will obviously not incur any costs for an employer provided test, the costs for private testing will vary depending on the provider. Some online sites will even let you take the written test free of charge and then mail you the results. After successfully passing the written test, it is advisable to sit for the driving section of the exam as soon as possible. Just like they do with the written section, employers can also provide the driving test.
Taking the test privately at another site may also be possible, but you will incur additional charges if you opt for this alternative. Sitting for the driving test should never be a viable option for you because most prospective employers in the UK are more than willing to provide you with the driving test so long as you provide them with sufficient proof that you have previously gained a pass in the written exam.
How Long will the Forklift Licence’ or Certification Last?
The certificates of training and competency that are awarded to qualified forklift operators do not actually expire per se, as would be the case with a regular driving licence. Instead, the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) recommends that forklift operators take refresher courses after the passage of a reasonable time interval. It is therefore left to the training organizations to decide just how long that interval should be and most suggest that it shouldn’t exceed 3 years.
The ultimate decision on when forklift operators will be retrained will nonetheless rest with employers because, as had been suggested above, it is their duty to ensure that all forklift operators under their watch are fully qualified to undertake their work responsibilities. Insurers might also insist that refresher courses be done after the passage of a specific time interval to minimize their insured risk.
Is In-House Training Acceptable?
In the case of in-house training and certification, employers should ensure that they thoroughly scrutinize all certificates, paperwork, as well as any other documentary proof in the potential employee’s possession to guarantee their validity. In particular, employers must carefully check that the ITSSAR, RTITB, or any other UK-recognized accrediting body name and registration number for the examiner or instructor who provided the training course are legitimate.
Because many companies train their forklift operators in this way, employing their own trainers, there is nothing particularly wrong with having such in-house qualifications as they are still recognized in the UK, as long as they have been properly accredited and administered to the required standards by validly registered examiners and instructors.
If you are doubtful, you can have the names and registration numbers appearing on any certificates checked out and validated by the relevant accreditation body. You should nonetheless always be cognizant of the fact that some in-house certifications will inevitably be bogus due to not being legally accredited or because of not having been fully delivered to the requisite standards expected in the UK.
Forklift Certification Re-training and Re-testing
Employees who have previously undergone the requisite training and testing to attain the recognized competency standards for forklift operation are allowed to take 1 day re-testing upon the expiry of the HSC recommended time interval of 3 years after obtaining valid certification. That is, provided they provide evidentiary documentation to prove this; otherwise they will be required to take a shortened 2 to 3 day basic training course by most certification authorities in the UK. This situation is applicable even to forklift drivers with several years of experience, who have however been operating without a recognized certificate. The fact that they may be highly competent forklift operators does not in any way negate the concern that they may not have obtained all the necessary theoretical input regarding safe forklift operational practices and stability.
For the negligible cost of making a local phone call, you can get in touch with a Health and Safety Executive in your area via a confidential helpline, to obtain valuable advice on all the legal implications and requirements pertaining to UK forklift licence renewal and certification. They will assist you to fully define and comprehend the various legalities involved in the process and you should thus not be afraid to get in touch with them.
Staying within the law and avoiding preventable accidents will be less costly for both forklift operators and their employers if they address all the issues detailed above before anyone gets behind the wheel.
For more information on all your UK forklift training needs please check out ForkliftTrainingHub.co.uk