Driving tests

Do you need a class 2 licence to drive a forklift?

If you only drive the forklift in areas which are not classed as roads, then you can drive any forklift, even without a current class 1 licence, as long as you have an appropriate qualification such as a forklift operator’s certificate or equivalent.

However, when you want to drive a forklift on a public road (and remember that the definition of a road is very broad), then you will need a class 1 car licence if the forklift is up to 18,000kg (including the load being carried) and a class 2 heavy vehicle licence if the forklift is over 18,000kg, plus an F endorsement and operator’s certificate (here’s what you need to do to get a class 2 licence).

In reality, the main areas where a driver needs a class 2 licence plus F endorsement when driving a forklift is for work on wharves and ports, and in railway yards lifting empty containers. While this is often done using a top lift container handler using a gantry spreader which requires a wheels (W) endorsement, sometimes forklifts are used because twenty-foot ISO shipping containers have two slots at the base for use with a forklift.

This container is being lifted by a crane, but you can see the two slots at the bottom for a forklift, as are also visible on the containers stacked in the background.
Forklift carrying a container
A container handler without a load – these require a W endorsement

Even forklifts that only lift empty containers will have a nominal capacity of 7000-9000kg, meaning the gross vehicle mass will far exceed 18,000kg.

A container handler at a stack of containers
Wharves are considered to be public roads, so forklifts must be registered and have a WoF, and the driver must have an F endorsement and a current driver’s licence. You can see the forklift at the bottom in the middle.

Darren has written over 3000 articles about driving and vehicles, plus almost 500 vehicle reviews and numerous driving courses. Connect with him on LinkedIn by clicking the name above

Tagged with: , | Posted in Driver licence, Forklift