Here’s a step by step guide of the things you need to do if you want to get your license, and start your career as a forklift driver.
Find a course near you
Novice forklift courses can be taken at various training centres across the UK, will typically take around 3-5 days, at a cost of £750 or thereabouts. This is quite a steep fee, especially if you’re just starting your career, but many employers will pay to train you, provided that you work for them for a reasonable amount of time afterwards. It’s worth noting that, at Hitec, we offer courses from as little as £200. Have a look here to see if any of them suit you.
Know your regulations
There are various safety regulations in place for forklift drivers, and you need to know them. When operating a lift truck, you need to be of sound body and mind, and not under the influence of alcohol or substances. You must also ensure that your vision and hearing is of a good enough standard to be fully aware of everything going on in your warehouse. Did you know, if you’ve not slept in 48 hours your reactions are slowed to a similar level experienced by a person who is drunk?
This is all basic stuff, but it’s important that you know it to avoid potentially fatal accidents.
Learn how to inspect your truck
As they say, prevention is better than cure. Many forklift accidents are caused by poor maintenance, and poor maintenance is allowed to occur when forklift operators don’t inspect their trucks properly. Every time you get inside the cab of your forklift you need to inspect it thoroughly, so before you get your license you need to learn how to do an inspection. Remember, a few screws loose in the lifting mechanism could mean the cargo you’re lifting goes clattering to the floor.
Figure out how to stack safely
Overloaded forks are a huge problem in the materials handling world. I’m sure you’ve all grabbed all of your shopping bags from your car after a weekly shop, when you really should have made two trips. In the warehouse, the consequences could be a lot worse than breaking a carton of eggs if it goes wrong, though. An overloaded forklift keeling over or dropping its load could, at best, cause significant damage to your boss’s warehouse and cargo, and, at worst, cause a fatal accident. This bit is a vital part of the job, so study up!
Learn how to operate the forklift
You don’t need to hold a driving license to drive a forklift, but you will have to learn how to operate the forklift in a safe manner at your training course. Your instructor will show you how to do this, so listen carefully and follow their advice. You’ll pick it up in no time!
Study hard for your theory test
In the theory test, you’ll be asked to demonstrate your knowledge on a number of topics you’ve learned about on your course. The primary topics are health and safety, inspection, best practice, and load weight calculation. It’s important to study hard for this test, without getting a passing grade you won’t be able to pass your forklift license. Ask your instructor about what topics to study up on if you’re unsure.
Show what you’ve learned in your practical test
You’ll also be asked to perform a practical examination, showing that you can operate the forklift truck correctly. This is a chance to show off everything you’ve learned when you were taught how to operate the truck, so relax and focus on doing as good of a job as you can. Once you’ve passed the theory and practical tests, you’ve passed the course and you’re an accredited forklift driver. Congratulations!
HITEC specialises in hire and sales of materials handling vehicles, including forklift trucks. Get In Touch to discuss how we can help you with your material handling needs. We also offer Forklift Driver Training, with our team of skilled instructors. Call Us to find out more.