Liverpool Storage Solutions operates commercial storage in the North West of England and we are often asked about our licences. We are C.O.M.A.H registered which means that we are licensed to store hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals and we provide transport to and from our facilities for clients that require a logistics service. All our truck drivers are fully licensed.
We also have lifting gear and we use fork lift trucks and it is a mystery to us why almost everyone in the UK believes that fork lift truck drivers must have a licence that is renewable tri annually. The myth continues with an illusion that the licence can only be renewed if the fork lift truck driver takes a refresher training course.
More than 7,000 Monthly Searches for Licences that Don’t Exist
In excess of 7,000 searches are made on the internet each month from people looking to obtain these licences and book onto refresher courses. It is even more astonishing that the situations vacant columns in local newspapers, whether there are vacancies for fork lift truck drivers in companies that offer commercial storage in the North West or factories the length and breadth of the UK, stipulate that prospective candidates must be licenced to drive a fork lift truck.
The reason that this is so surprising is that in reality Fork Lift Truck licences don’t exist and according to guidance from the Health and Safety Executive no one has to take any type of refresher training course after 3 years or in any other time period. Logically this would be the case since if there is no licence, you wouldn’t have to renew it, would you?
Adequate Training Must Be Provided
What does apply in the use of this equipment is Regulation 9 of the PUWER98 (Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998) where adequate training has to be provided by employers before their workers are able to use such equipment. This training can be provided by a company’s own accredited trainer or can be outsourced.
When the fork lift truck driver has undergone such training, it is obligatory that the employer gives the employee written authorisation to operate the equipment and although this will take place after training has been delivered, it does not and never has constituted a licence. It is at the employer’s discretion as to the period of validity of the authorisation and the Health and Safety Executive requires that such operators are monitored and assessed regularly to ascertain whether there is a need for further training. Therefore, if no further training is required which is more than likely if the initial training was good and if the operator gains considerable practical experience, it is not an obligation of the employer to further train the operator.
Our Fork Lift Truck Drivers don’t have Transferable Licences.
All our fork lift truck drivers working at our commercial storage North West facility are fully trained authorised and highly experienced operatives. However, we would like to dispel another myth which is that we as employers hold some form of “national driving licence” for our fork lift truck drivers that is transferable should they move on to other employers. Clearly since these licences don’t exist, this is impossible and in any event a fork lift truck driver who is accustomed to working in a commercial storage North West facility, who moves to work in say, a pasty factory in Cornwall will have different duties to undertake and therefore the new employer will need to assess the operator’s skills as pertaining to the specific type of lifting that is required in their industry.
Whilst it is essential that fork lift truck drivers are properly trained by accredited training providers, whether in house or not, the training should match the employer’s specific requirements and those of the operator.
Foreign Fork Lift Truck Licences are Not Valid in the UK
In certain countries, national licensing schemes for fork lift truck driving do exist. However, the rules that apply in such countries may not be compatible with the operation of fork lift trucks in the UK hence if we employ a foreigner in our commercial storage North West facility we know that any licence the employee holds is not valid.
So for all employers out there who are desperately searching for licenced fork lift truck drivers and paying for them to be retrained every three years we hope this blog has been useful in separating myth from fact. More details can be found in the Health and Safety Executive L117 Booklet.