Counterbalance Forklift Training Courses

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The Counterbalance Forklift Truck

A counterbalance forklift truck or counterbalance lift truck is what most people think of when talking about forklifts. They have a compact design where the operator sits behind the forks inside an overhead structure. This structure protects them from falling objects and in the event of a tip-over. The front wheels power the machine whilst the back wheels do the steering. Their lifting capacity is usually around 1.5 tonnes but some of the very large machines can lift over 40 tonnes.

The counterbalance forklift is the most common forklift truck in use in the world today. Used to move freight around a warehouse whether that’s inside or outside. They can be powered by electricity with batteries, or by an engine fuelled by LPG or diesel. Whatever the power source it'll be found under the driver’s seat.


Counterbalance Forklift Training Courses

This forklift training course contains theory work in a classroom and practical using a counterbalance forklift. The classroom work consists of learning about Health and Safety legislation. Also, the theory of using a forklift truck and the operator’s safety code. The practical work builds so that trainees gain knowledge and experience gradually. Adequate time to practice is important, before moving onto the next stage. This training culminates with 3 stages of testing:

  • A theory test – consisting of 25 questions
  • Pre-use inspection test
  • Practical skills test involving various manoeuvres completed in a safe manner.
Counterbalance lift truck
Counterbalance forklift truck


Counterbalance (Rider)




Lifting capacity up to 5 tonnes

Accrediting Body:

Independent Training Standards Scheme & Register (ITSSAR)


3 : 1 : 1 (3 operators, 1 instructor, 1 machine)


Novice - 1 operator = 3 days, 2 operators = 4 days, 3 operators = 5 days

Experienced - 1 operator = 2 days, 2 operators = 2 days, 3 operators = 3 days

Safety Refresher - 1 operator = 1 day, 2 operators = 1 day, 3 operators = 1 day

Conversion - contact us


Contact us


The following list are the elements that make up a novice counterbalance forklift training course. For experienced operators, safety refresher and conversion courses the list would be shorter.

  • Course induction
  • The need and reasons to training and statutory requirements (HASAWA 1974 etc.)
  • Introduction to equipment/control familiarisation/ principles of operation
  • Identification/use/adjustment of attachments in pre-determined positions including forks
  • Recommended mount and dismount
  • Introduction to motive, steering controls and practice
  • Basic steering exercises – simple courses
  • Advanced steering exercises – figure of 8/chicane/90° approaches
  • Battery charging procedures/maintenance
  • Operator safety code and relevant handout
  • Daily pre-use inspections/refuelling procedures
  • Engineering principles/rated capacity/stability
  • Simple hydraulics (theory)
  • Introduction to hydraulic controls, handling empty pallets low level
  • Load types/handling and weight assessment
  • Stacking/de-stacking at low; eye and high level on industrial racking*
  • Stacking/destacking at low; eye and high level bulk stacks*
  • Stacking/destacking at low; eye and high level cup post pallets*
  • Manoeuvring with loads/ramps and inclines/handling awkward loads*
  • Relevant safety film
  • Vehicle loading and unloading (theory)*
  • Vehicle loading and unloading (practical)*
  • Multi choice theory test
  • Pre-use inspection test
  • Practical skills test

* To be covered where relevant to operation or facilities permit

Levels of Training

Novice Operator Training

This course is for operators who have little or no experience. The objective is to equip students with the confidence, knowledge and skills to safely and efficiently operate a counterbalance forklift truck.

Experienced Operator Training

For operators who are competent and experienced on a counterbalance forklift truck. But, either have not received any kind of approved training, do not hold a certificate, or their certificate is over 5 years old.

Safety Refresher Training*

This is for operators who have a certificate that is under 5 years old. Also, appropriate where operators; have not used trucks for some time, are occasional users, have developed unsafe working practices, had an accident or near miss, or changed their working practices/environment.

Conversion Training*

For training on a similar forklift truck to one that an operator has already been successfully trained, tested and certified on. Any relevant certificate must be under 5 years old.

* Certification must be provided before commencement of any training

Facilities Required

You will need sufficient space for candidates and an instructor to carry out theory lessons. For practical work you’ll need a counterbalance forklift truck. Also, you will need ample space to carry out training, assessments and testing.

All operators will need safety shoes/boots plus any other PPE as per the company’s internal risk assessments.

On-site Training

All training courses are carried out on our customer’s premises. This gives our students the advantage of being trained and tested on a machine that is known to them. And after successful completion of training, operators will know how to use these machines safely and efficiently.


On completion of our training courses operator's will receive:

  • Course hand out
  • A4 ITSSAR accredited certificate
  • Plastic photo identification card

An operator will then have their details entered or edited on ITSSAR’s TOPS (Trained Operator Passport Scheme) database.

Counterbalance forklift licence or ITSSAR certificate, plastic I.D. card and course handout
Counterbalance certificate and course hand out

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The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

“It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”