Counterbalance Forklift Training Courses

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Counterbalance Forklift Training

The counterbalance forklift training course contains theory lessons in a classroom and practical work using the counterbalance truck. 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


The Counterbalance Forklift Truck

A counterbalance forklift truck or counterbalance fork 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 Course Specifications

counterbalance forklift training
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


On-site Counterbalance Forklift Courses

All of our counterbalance forklift 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 forklift training, operators will know how to use these machines safely and efficiently.

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 personal protective equipment as per the company’s internal risk assessments.

Forklift Certificates

After successful completion of our counterbalance forklift training operator's will receive:

  • A4 ITSSAR approved certificate of basic training
  • Plastic photo identification card

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

Counterbalance Course Breakdown

The following list is 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

Our instruction and examination comes in 4 basic levels. Getting the correct level isn't an exact science and so we like to discuss the experience of candidates individually to ensure there aren't any surprises.

Novice Course

This forklift 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 in the workplace.

Experienced Course

For operators who are competent and experienced on a counterbalance forklift. But, either has not received any kind of approved training or doesn't have or able to prove previous counterbalance forklift certification.

Safety Refresher*

This is for drivers who have already undergone and passed a counterbalance forklift operators course. And, they can produce an accredited certificate. Appropriate where operators have not used trucks for some time or are occasional users. Also, if they have developed unsafe working practices, had an accident or near miss, or changed their working practices.


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 from a recognised accrediting body.


* Certification must be provided before commencement of any training


At the end of each course we ask our trainees to complete a short feedback form. Amongst other questions, we ask them "what did you like the most about this training?" Here are a small sample of the replies:

Clinton was really relaxed and made me feel at ease and confident.

LP, Eastleigh, Hampshire

Well put together and easy to learn.

JW, Emsworth, West Sussex

Some very interesting and enlightening points and learnt some new things.

KB, Segenswoth, Hampshire

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.”