Put simply, an FLT Licence is a Fork Lift Truck driving licence. Although there are not a great many requirements to drive a forklift truck, there are some things you do need to consider before you apply.

How Old Do I Need To Be?

Broadly speaking, most forklift truck driving instructors will not train anyone under the age of 17 years old. Even though the HSC Approved Code of Practice and Guidance states “Children under minimum school leaving age should never operate forklift trucks”, which does suggest that you could start to learn to drive one at 16, this is not usually put into practice. When it comes to reality, the majority of employers do not employ anyone under the age of 18. This is as a result of other limitations in the workplace such as the weight of forklift trucks and where they are operating. Furthermore, road traffic legislation will apply when forklift trucks are being operated on public roads; this is age 17 for trucks up to 3.5 tonnes, 18 up to 7.5 tonnes, and 21 for heavier equipment.

Do I Need An Existing Driving Licence?

Unless you are driving a forklift truck on a public road, you do not need to hold a UK driving licence and there is no legal requirement for you to have one. If you are driving on a public road, then you must be the holder of a valid UK drivers licence and the vehicle would need to comply with the appropriate road traffic legislation.

How Do I Get A Counterbalance Forklift Licence?

For UK operators you can enrol for a accredited forklift training course at a school in your area.A typical training course will compose of theory and lectures, practical operator training (actual driving of the forklift truck) and finally written assessment. For new operators with no prior skills, the course is lengthier that usually lasts for 3 to 5 days and it could cost more. For experienced operator the course takes 2-3 days, for refresher and conversion, it only takes 1 day to complete the course.During the duration of the classroom lecture, operators will be presented lectures in DVD format and Power Point presentations. The discussion will revolve around these topics:

  • A brief introduction about counterbalance forklift trucks
  • Current laws and legislations about forklift operations
  • Understand about manufacturer’s specifications
  • Familiarization with controls and its instruments including emergency control
  • Lifting procedure and load capacity
  • Handling of loads and placement in pallets
  • Troubleshooting the forklift
  • Refuelling, oil and coolant checking
  • Operating in confined spaces
  • Driving in pedestrian
  • Driving in different road condition and on ramps

Successful operators, who have been have been evaluated, will receive certificate of training completion, operator card and registration. Their names can be entered into RTITB licenced forklift operator NPORS database.

How Long Do Forklift Licences Last?

Once you have passed your training, your forklift licence expires every three years. In order to renew it, you need to take the refresher course.

Does My Health Have An Impact?

As a forklift truck driver,

you are responsible

for some heavy equipment and therefore

you must be medically fit

to carry out your job safely.

General Health

– A forklift truck driver should have full movement of the spine, neck and limbs. However, a skilled driver who has lost a limb may still be able to continue their role after re-training. A stable mindset is important, but any history of mental illness should not immediately disqualify a candidate. Those who have a dependency on alcohol and non-prescription drugs should not be employed as a forklift truck driver.


– The ability to effectively manoeuvre the forklift truck through a variety of spaces, and a good judgement of distance, typically requires the use of both eyes. However, individuals with monocular vision may be able to operate a forklift truck in some instances. Distance vision should be of the same standard as driving a car, and if glasses or contact lenses are required then these should be worn at all times when driving the forklift truck.


– Although it is extremely beneficial to be able to hear instructions and warnings, those who are harder of hearing should not be immediately disqualified. Individuals who do not have perfect hearing should undergo further assessments more specific to the task required of them.


– If the person holds a UK drivers licence and has been free from an epileptic attack for one year, then they are eligible to drive a forklift truck. However, their medical condition should be monitored closely and a reoccurrence of a seizure should be reassessed.

Where Can I Get My FLT Licence?

There are four accrediting bodies who conduct forklift truck operator training and they are:

  • AITT (Association of Industrial Truck trainers)
  • ITSSAR (Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register)
  • NPORS (National Plant Operators Registration Scheme)
  • RTITB (previously the Road Transport Industry Training Board)

For those wishing to train as a forklift driver, this ensures that there is a recognised standard of qualification for this discipline. The above four bodies are backed by the Accrediting Bodies Association. This is also beneficial as an employer as it provides a way of checking the authenticity of the training undertaken by a potential employee.

How Long Does FLT Training Take?

There are two types of FLT training that you can undergo, depending on whether you have any existing experience driving a forklift truck.

  • Initial FLT Training – This is most suitable for those who have less than 6 months of experience driving an FLT. Depending on the accreditation you are seeking, this course can take between 3-5 days, including your test. This course is made up of theory training and practical training and is designed to teach you about how a forklift truck works and operates. This training will also include how to carry out a pre-shift vehicle check and also the health and safety issues surrounding the correct handling of an FLT.
  • Refresher FLT Training – This course is designed for individuals who have previously operated a forklift truck, or held an FLT licence in the past. Usually this course will only take one day and is created specifically to quickly assess the operator’s ability. If you are attending this training it is expected that you already have a comprehensive understanding of how a forklift truck works.


How Long Does An FLT Licence Last?

Typically, the majority of companies will renew their operator licences every 3-5 years. There is no set renewal period, as long as the training remains adequate and up-to-date. We have a huge range of forklift trucks at PHL, so there will be a type to suit your needs.



Keep up to date with PHL and all things forklift machinery.