These requirements include being able to:
- Pass a vision test
- Have adequate hearing
- Be physically fit enough to operate the controls of the forklift
If you have any concerns about your ability to meet these requirements, you should speak to your doctor or a qualified forklift training provider.
Legal requirements vs workplace requirements
Forklift truck drivers tend to predominantly operate the vehicle on private premises. Therefore, there is no legal requirement to even have a license to drive a lift truck.
However, if you have to drive a forklift more than 1,000 yards on a public road, you will be required to have a driving license. A standard driving licence requires you to pass the DVLA standards for fitness to drive, following the above requirements.
The DVLA does not have the responsibility for licensing workplace transport drivers, which includes forklift truck drivers.
They do recommend that you perform regular medicals on your forklift drivers after they reach the age of 45, then every 5 years thereafter. If an operator is older than 65, they should be accessed annually.
Do you need a medical examination for a forklift license?
No, however, most companies will need their drivers to pass a medical before driving a forklift.
More stringent assessment of medical health needs to be taken into account on the environment the driver is working in. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define these environments as when a driver is:
- Moving highly toxic or explosive materials
- Working in a particularly demanding environment
- Working at night
- Operating large or heavy vehicles
Further to this, a disabled individual may have developed additional skills to bypass some fitness tests. Also, with all assessments, you need to consider how the individual would respond to an emergency situation.
As a business, you should view forklift truck medicals as a safety measure for the driver and others in the vicinity of the vehicle in operation. Failure to do so could result in compensation for those involved in any incidents.
All employers who use forklift truck drivers should have medical screenings as part of the Contract of Employment. Refusal for any employee to complete a medical assessment should bring into question their fitness to operate machinery.
Further forklift driver medical requirements considerations
Absence from work
If a driver has been absent from work for longer than one month, it is recommended that you perform a return to work-medical assessment.
Depending on the reason for the absence you will need to ensure that the forklift driver is capable to work in the same environment or needs further examination.
As with most absences from work and doctor’s note may be required. That being said, a doctor’s note does not constitute a medical assessment for suitability to operate heavy vehicles, like a forklift.
Many medications can lead to drowsiness, especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. If a driver is on any medication, you will need to check that the drug does not have any effect on their ability to operate a forklift.
Any employee that is on medication should:
- Speak to their GP or pharmacist about the medication they are on and their suitability to operate a forklift
- Tell their employer if any medication could inhibit their ability to operate a lift truck
You may want to consider having the driver take a break after operating the machinery if they are still under the influence of the medication.
There are also many conditions which can be controlled by medication. If the driver has a condition, which is being controlled by medication, you will still need to check that they are physically and mentally capable of operating a forklift.
Alcohol and illicit drugs
It is illegal to drink alcohol or take drugs and then operate a forklift. If an employer suspects that an employee is under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, they should not allow them to operate the machinery.
There are severe penalties for those caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on public roads. These can include a prison sentence, loss of licence and a fine.
If you are an employer and you are concerned that one of your employees is operating a forklift while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should speak to them about your concerns. If they continue to operate the machinery while under the influence, you should proceed with disciplinary measures and report them to the police.
Premier Lift Trucks take health and safety very seriously and when your purchase our new, or used forklifts, you need to take into consideration the medical requirements of operating this heavy machinery.