Learning how to operate a forklift is a useful skill that is demanded by many employers across the United Kingdom. If you have forklift certification, you can find high-paying jobs as a forklift operator and even become a forklift instructor yourself once you have had enough experience.
Depending on your current designation and amount of experience working with forklifts, a professional forklift training institute will provide you with a customized forklift training experience. There are courses for novices, experienced users, and workers who wish to become qualified forklift instructors.
If you are considering getting forklift training in the United Kingdom, here is what you should expect from an accredited forklift training course.
1. Learning the basics
Forklift training usually includes classroom lectures, practical workshops, and hands-on practical training. Your training will teach you about operating procedures, for example, how to drive the forklift and use the hydraulic lift while observing all the safety precautions. You will be taught how to load and unload goods and transport them securely across various distances.
2. The equipment
Untrained drivers who do not know the difference between forklift models can cause accidents. Professional forklift training will teach you how to operate different lift trucks: such as Bendi forklifts, reach trucks, electric forklifts, and counterbalance forklifts. Each type of forklift has its own controls and loading mechanism, the maximum weight it can carry, and speed limit. In order to follow the best safety practices, forklift drivers must know all about the forklift that they will be driving.
Forklift operators should also be dressed properly for work wearing hard hats, boots, and high visibility jackets. Your instructors will brief you on the right attire for a forklift operator.
Oftentimes, companies request on-site forklift training, which means that their workers should be trained on company premises. This is down to a few reasons: many employers want their workers to learn how to drive the company forklifts at their actual place of work and not on unfamiliar territory. This makes sense because training inside a warehouse with smooth floors is not the same as operating a forklift on rough terrains like a dock or an outdoor construction site. Secondly, in on-site forklift training, workers train using the company’s own forklifts, i.e., the very vehicles that they will be driving every day at work once they have obtained their forklift license. If you work at a company that wants its workers to receive forklift training, your employer will be responsible for arranging training for its workers and paying for the cost of the forklift training.
3. Loading the forklift truck
One of the first things a forklift training course will drill into you is that you must never exceed the load limit of your forklift. The load limit is different for every forklift and can be found written on the vehicle’s data plate. You must always use the proper forklift attachment to lift and stack loads and place the load according to the forklift’s recommended load centre. Never add extra weight to balance a fully loaded forklift, as that can make the vehicle tip over. If the load is unbalanced on the forklift, you can try keeping the heavier end close to the front wheels.
4. Safe handling throughout a forklift operation
As a forklift driver, most of your job is about handling loads – stacking them, transporting them, lifting them, and unloading them. As such, you must know everything about safe load handling procedures.
The load handling component of your training will teach you not to load the forklift with damaged loads or loose loads that can fall off while you are driving. It also helps to follow these safety practices:
- Always secure the load first to make sure it’s in place.
- Make sure you always centre the load.
- Position the heaviest side of an un-centered load towards the front wheels of the forklift.
- Do not overwhelm the forklift by loading it beyond its recommended load capacity
5. Approaching the load
If a forklift driver approaches the load too quickly, accidents are bound to happen. Always approach the load cautiously and stop when you’re about half a foot away from the load. Only raise or lower the forks once the forklift is at a complete stop. Before you raise the load, make sure that you have enough overhead clearance and your vision is not obstructed.
6. Learning how to do proper safety inspections
All forklift operators should inspect their equipment every day before starting their work for the day. A forklift that isn’t working properly and is in need of repairs should never be driven. Here are some examples of what should be done during regular inspections:
- Test the brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel
- Inspect the mast for damage
- Check the tires and hydraulic, brake, and engine fluid levels
- Check for leaks
You will be taught how to conduct both pre-use and operational forklift inspections. These will be carried out by your instructors, and they may ask you to show them what you have learned in practical assessments afterward.
Conducting a pre-use inspection
A pre-use forklift inspection will be done by doing a thorough visual check. This involves walking around the forklift to check for visual signs of damage. Check the forks, mast, lift chain, tires, lift chain, lights, and steering wheel.
The lights should be working, and the mirrors should be clean so that the driver’s visibility is not affected. Check the tire pressure and ensure that no sharp objects are on the ground that could puncture the tires.
Next, check all the operational parts of the forklift. The forks and mast should respond to the driver’s controls. Check the fuel source and see if the steering wheel is moving smoothly. In the end, check the driver’s seat and the seatbelt to see if they are firmly in place.
Performing an operational inspection
In this stage, forklift operators should start the engine and conduct an operational inspection of the forklift. Note if any strange noises are emanating from the forklift – if yes, they should be reported to your supervisor at once.
Check the accelerator and drive control. Both forward and reverse motions should be working smoothly. The forklift’s tilt unction should also be working properly without any breaks or hiccups. The battery discharge indicator should also be working. Finally, check the gauges to see if the engine oil pressure, fuel level, temperature, and instrument monitors are all in order.
7. How to read a forklift data plate
Professional forklift training programs should teach you how to accurately read a forklift data plate. A forklift data plate is installed in every forklift and shows important statistics related to the particular forklift model, such as weight, fuel type, and the forklift’s load capacity. To follow safety procedures, you should know how to read the forklift data plate before use. You will learn how to do this during your training.
8. How to drive a forklift on a ramp
Not all forklifts can be driven on ramps or uphill surfaces. As a forklift operator, it will be your responsibility to refer to the forklift instruction manual to see if you can drive it on a ramp.
9. Maintaining workplace safety standards
Being a forklift instructor is a major responsibility – you could be training hundreds of workers every month. Upholding safety standards in warehouses is necessary, so your forklift training should teach you how to think critically, be organized, and pay attention to each forklift so as to spot any faulty parts that require repairs.
Find RTITB Accredited Forklift Truck Training Programmes in Coventry and West Midlands
Learning how to operate a forklift is easy if you know the right forklift training institute to go to. You can learn how to operate a forklift safely as a professional forklift operator by signing up for an RTITB accredited forklift training course in Coventry or any place near you in the United Kingdom. Professional forklift training will make you adept at handling loads safely, carrying out proper vehicle inspections, and how to drive a forklift on indoor as well as rough outdoor terrain. Once you have forklift certification on your resume, you should have no difficulty finding your dream job as a certified forklift operator with any of the UK’s leading companies in the manufacturing or industrial sectors.
Once you have successfully finished your forklift training and received forklift certification, you will have learnt how to steer a forklift, how to stack, load and unload heavy materials, be proficient in the use of vehicle controls, how to carry out forklift inspections, and check if the vehicle needs any repairs, and be well-versed in standard forklift safety protocol in the workplace.
At RS Forklift Training, we are a professional forklift training institute that caters to both companies and individual workers who are looking for forklift certification. Given that each year, hundreds of workers get badly injured while operating forklifts at work, we believe that our forklift training programmes are crucial for all forklift operators in order to ensure workplace safety standards and minimize forklift accidents.
Our forklift training courses in West Midlands are designed for aspiring forklift operators who need to obtain proper forklift certification. We also have courses for more experienced forklift users who need advanced training and forklift operators who need to enroll in one-day refresher or re-certification courses to brush up on their forklift skills and learn about the latest developments in standard safety procedures as well as new operating techniques.
We hold our classes in small groups so that each trainee can receive the attention they need from their forklift instructors. If you are not a native speaker of English, we have RTITB proficient forklift instructors from many parts of Europe who will be able to conduct forklift training in your native language to facilitate your learning. Plus, our prices are the most affordable in the country, so you don’t have to worry about the exorbitant costs of enrolling in a forklift training programme.
At the RS forklift training centres which are located in different cities around the United Kingdom, you will find the best forklift training programs that can help you earn exceptional forklift training experience. To register for our forklift training courses, simply follow the steps mentioned below:
Contact: Our training process begins when aspiring trainees contact us and provide us with information regarding the type, of course, they want to join. They can also get a tour of the training center. We ensure that trainees understand each aspect of the course, so they are certain whether the course is right for them or not.
Training: Forklift training commences with our highly trained forklift instructors, who impart all kinds of technical knowledge regarding forklifts. They give equal importance to the theoretical and practical aspects of forklift training so that trainees can become experts in no time. We ensure that our training will help increase workplace productivity and decrease losses and accidents.
Certificate: Once you’ve completed the course and become well-versed with all the aspects of forklift training, we will provide you with a nationally recognized and RTITB accredited certificate. This certificate will serve as proof in front of your employers for validating your skills.
Employment: Our job doesn’t stop at training. We also help our trainees get employment opportunities. After you’ve proved yourself to be a valuable asset, we will help you get work through recommendations and references.