Do you need a licence to drive a forklift

Do you need a licence to drive a forklift?

At Masterlift, we’re repeatedly asked ‘Do you need a licence to drive a forklift?’.

In short, you do NOT need a motor vehicle driving licence to operate a forklift unless it is being used on public roads, whereby the traffic rules and regulations apply.

However, it is also wrong to assume that if you do hold a driving licence for a motor vehicle that you also have the skills and ability to drive a forklift.

All forklift operators MUST have basic training in all types of forklift trucks for their work as per the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989.

That’s the law!

Do you need a licence to drive a forklift

Why do you need a licence to drive a forklift?

Forklifts are among the most dangerous types of vehicles used in the workplace, yet because they are quiet, often used, and a natural part of the setting, the risks connected with their use are frequently overlooked.

Forklift accidents, however, are often fatal and serious.

This blog on the Top 5 Forklift Safety Tips for your Workplace might be helpful?

Getting correct training gives participants the credentials necessary to safely and competently use some of the most popular forklift models—the Counterbalance, the Power Pallet, the Reach Truck, Order Pickers, Articulated Forklifts and 4-Directional Forklifts — as specified by Irish Health & Safety Law.

Employers must not allow anyone to operate a forklift without training.

Check out the HSA’s Code of Practice in this PDF.

Can I drive any forklift after getting a licence?

All lift truck types and attachments that operators will or may need to employ in their work must be the subject of basic training.

Additional, hands-on conversion training will be needed if the operator is subsequently required to operate another lift truck or if the handling attachment changes.

Want tips on driving a forklift? Check out our Beginners Guide to Driving a Forklift Blog here.

Do you need a licence to drive a forklift

Driving a forklift is easy, why do I need a licence?

A lot of people think that driving a forklift is simply going forward and you need very little skill for it.

And while a lot of the training is around going forward, it’s nowhere near the entirety.

In reality, you’ll discover that much of your forklift driving at work will include driving in reverse, backing into spaces, and moving backwards around a warehouse.

This means that you will require in-depth training, practice, and instruction in driving backwards, using the forklift, and safely navigating tight spaces.

Along with performing the necessary safety checks, you’ll also need to learn how to operate your forklift properly while it has a load on the front. This is not as simple as it sounds (and overbalancing is a genuine risk).

It is therefore even more crucial that you receive the necessary instruction before attempting to operate a vehicle.

How long does forklift training take?

Nowhere near as long and arduous as you think!

Full RTITB forklift training can be done in a matter of days, not weeks and Masterlift will even come to your workplace to save you even more time.

We can carry out training nationwide and it is tailored to the customer’s needs.

If you’re wondering how long the certification lasts, check out this BLOG.


Forklift training and knowing do you need a licence to drive a forklift is so important.

It’s about safety in the workplace and adhering to the law.

So make sure you get in touch if you’re interested in receiving the gold standard of forklift training – RTITB. Click HERE or below to learn more.

Do you need a licence to drive a forklift