Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All the materials handling answers you need. Discover our FAQ and contact us if you can't find what you're looking for. Happy reading!

Short and long term rentals, new or used purchase... what is the best solution for my operation?

Purchase allows you to own your equipment by choosing all the options and additional extras you need for your particular application. Long-term rental allows a smooth transaction and investment while freeing you from maintenance, while short-term rental gives you more flexibility when you need it most (e.g peak times or seasonal activity).

What training is required and which providers can we use to ensure our employees can use our forklift trucks?

In the UK, there are a number of bodies which can be used, such as:- Association of Industrial Truck Trainers (AITT), Construction Industry Training Board, Construction Plan Competence Scheme (CPC), Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR), Lantra Awards, National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) and RTITB. Every employer has a responsibility, under Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98), to ensure that employees have adequate training before they use work equipment.

The operator should receive training on each type of equipment he or she may be required to operate. Such training may be provided by an in-house trained instructor or an external trainer. The training provider should then issue a certificate, or other document, giving details of the results of that training. This document is not a licence.

What is the minimum age for operating a forklift truck?

The HSC Approved Code of Practice and Guidance, detailed below, clearly states that “Children under minimum school leaving age should never operate lift trucks.”
It also states that operators of forklift trucks on docks premises must be at least 18.
These are the only clear age related statements in official documents. However, guidance goes on to say that young persons, under 18, often lack experience and maturity and are at greater risk than older employees and should not be allowed to operate forklift trucks without adequate supervision. Many trainers will not accept trainee operators under the age of 17.
The minimum ages specified in road traffic legislation apply when forklift trucks are operated on public roads. Currently this would be age 17 for trucks up to 3.5 tonnes gvw, 18 up to 7.5 tonnes gvw, and 21 for heavier equipment.

Do I need to provide training for the use of hand pallet trucks?

Hand pallet trucks, or rather their operators, are responsible for many accidents in the work place. Training requirements should not be under estimated.
Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) makes it very clear that an employer must provide adequate training for all persons who use work equipment. This includes training on how the equipment should be used, the risks involved and precautions to be taken. The same regulation makes it clear that those who supervise or manage the use of such equipment must also receive adequate, similar training.
All the various types of hand controlled pallet trucks would fall into this category, from the simple manual pump truck through to quite complex electric counterbalance stackers. The degree of training required and the time it will take, will vary according to the type of equipment and the tasks to be performed. For the more basic equipment it may be possible to provide in-house training. This still needs to be properly organised and formally recorded. If in any doubt professional advice should be sought. Although the HSC publication L117 (Freely downloadable from the HSE website) is for rider-operated lift trucks, the basic principles and training requirements described should still be applied to hand operated equipment..

What is the PUWER 1998?

All equipment used at work is subject to the PUWER (Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations) 1998. In these regulations it sets out the requirement to select, inspect, maintain and use the equipment to ensure it is safe to use. In the main, this sets out the requirement to carry out pre-use inspections and services following the manufacturers recommendations and Thorough Examination(s).

What is the LOLER 1998?

The LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) 1998 gives clear guidance on equipment used to lift (such as a forklift trucks) and sets out a requirement to carry out a Thorough Examination at specific intervals.

What is a Thorough Examination?

Thorough Examination is quite like an MOT test for a car or lorry.It is a legal requirement. 

A Thorough Examination is a statutory requirement for lifting equipment under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER 98), Regulation 9. It has the same purpose as an MOT inspection by providing a report which identifies that the lifting equipment is safe to use and/or advice that needs to be followed to avoid risks in use. It is just as important as an MOT – probably more so! There is a legal requirement for a Thorough Examination to be carried out on forklift trucks at least once a year, and often more frequently depending on conditions of use.

What maintenance is required for my forklift truck?

A lack of maintenance can lead to serious accidents. It can also result in the breakdown of the equipment and unscheduled stoppages to the work process.
Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98) states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”. This is primarily to ensure that the equipment is safe, but it also has implications for productivity.
A sound system of daily or pre-shift checks is the cornerstone of good maintenance. This ensures that essential fluids are kept topped up and potential defects are identified before they become a problem. Further advice is available in the FLTA Daily Checks booklet.
Regular, preventive maintenance should be scheduled in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer of your equipment. Guidance on this can be provided by STILL UK.

What advice should I follow for the maintenance of my forklift truck battery?


You should check water levels regularly and avoid rapid charging (except for Li-Ion batteries). For more maintenance tips for your forklift truck battery, read our article: 'Extending the battery life of your forklift truck.'


How long does it take to charge a forklift battery?

A normal battery (except Li-Ion) reaches its capacity after 5 - 8 hours of use.
Complete recharging takes between 6 - 12 hours depending on the model of your charger.
Cooling requires a minimum of 1 - 2 hours.

Is a seat belt mandatory for forklift trucks?

Since 2002, counterbalanced trucks, rough-terrain trucks and side-loading trucks, one side only, must be fitted with an operator restraining system (for example a seat belt). For older trucks which do not have one, you should fit a restraining system if the risk assessment indicates that there is a risk of the vehicle overturning and where the operator may be trapped between the truck and the ground. Where restraining systems are fitted they should be used.
Where a restraining system cannot be fitted and the risks are sufficiently high, it will be necessary to use another lift truck which has such a system. Any lift truck fitted with a roll-over protective structure (ROPS) to protect operators from the risk of injury resulting from 180° or more roll-over should be fitted with a restraining system.

Can my forklift truck be driven on public roads?

It is not true that if you are just going to cross a road from one site to another, or offload a lorry outside on the road, you do not have to register, tax and insure your fork lift truck. That is an old wives’ tale! If, on the task to be performed, the forklift truck will travel more than 1000 yards, then it must comply with Construction and Use Regulations or have Type Approval. This involves all sorts of legal requirements and probably quite major modifications to the truck and should not be undertaken lightly. Compliance may become quite complex. However, if, on the task to be performed, the forklift truck will travel less than 1000 yards, on public roads, between sites or for unloading vehicles, then there is special dispensation from compliance with the Construction and Use Regulations. In most circumstances it can be driven with little modification; but it must be registered and insured. Compliance may be relatively simple but understanding all the rules is not straight-forward. The rules cover items such as excise duty, lighting, number plates, operator requirements and even what is a public road. For more information on the requirements for using your forklift truck on a public road contact us!

What is the maximum gradient for a forklift truck?

This is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?” However there are guidelines.


As a general rule all gradients should be avoided. They are a hazard to any forklift truck operation. If they cannot be avoided then the gradient must be met head on – straight up or down the slope. If the slope is icy or wet, or if the ground is uneven or soft, the hazard will increase. Most laden counterbalance trucks should cope with a gradient of 5%. Crossing any gradient sideways will increase the risk of the truck overturning. Loading or unloading of vehicles should take place on firm, level ground. If difficult operating conditions cannot be avoided consider the use of equipment designed for rough terrain or off-road use.


Problems with gradients can be minimized by considering the risks during the design stage of new builds, or through modifications. The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) provides technical guidance that covers gradients of general floor surfaces, doorways, ramps and drainage gullies. For example they quote 12.5% as a maximum gradient for ramps. However, wherever possible, the specific truck specification sheet should also be consulted.

What are the rules for using a mobile phone on a forklift truck?

There are no specific regulations that relate to the use of mobile phones whilst operating forklift trucks.
The use of a hand-held phone or similar hand-held device while driving on a public road is prohibited by law. A workplace environment is no less hazardous than a public road. It would therefore be good practice to ban the use of a hand-held phone or similar device whilst operating a forklift truck.
It is generally considered that the use of a hands-free mobile phone can also be a distraction. There may be an operational reason for wishing to use a hands-free mobile phone, but this is not recommended and such use should certainly be subject to risk assessment. There are special communication systems available to assist with activities such as order picking and stock taking. Mobile phones should not be used for these types of activity.
It would be good practice to ban the use of a hands-free mobile phone for personal use whilst operating a forklift truck.

Working Platforms 

The use of non-integrated working platforms on forklift trucks requires suitable communication between the operator of the forklift truck and the persons on the working platform. The method of communication to be used will form part of the risk assessment, but it may be that the use of hands-free mobile phones in these circumstances is considered preferable to shouting, or the use of hand signals.

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