Licensing and Training Requirements for Heavy Equipment Operators

Operating heavy equipment – forklifts, backhoes, etc. – requires specialised training and skills, as well as licenses. Heavy equipment helps industries, business and even individuals to carry on with heavy workloads and make their jobs a lot easier. But to become a heavy equipment operator or driver, you have to undergo specialised training and acquire licenses before you can handle the equipment.


Do you need a driver’s license?


Essentially, you don’t need a regular driver’s license to operate heavy equipment. The government does not issue licenses to heavy equipment drivers, as they only drive and run them at their workplace. But if they drive the equipment on the road, they must obey road rules and regulations just like any regular driver. And because they are driving a much bigger and heavier machine, they should always ensure the safety of other vehicles on the road as well as their own.


How old should you be?


You must be at least 18 years old to drive and operate heavy equipment, although you can start training for a certificate at 17 so that when you turn 18, you can apply for a job right away with the necessary requirements ready. There are companies, for example, FLT Training Sheffield that provides training for forklifts and other machinery. But there are restrictions on age depending on the weight and size of the equipment you will be handling and the place where you will be driving it.


Who should provide you with the training?


You can enrol for a training certificate to prime you in looking for a heavy equipment operator position, or your employer can require you to undergo such if need be. Your employer has to make sure that you have adequate training and skills to drive heavy equipment. They also have the right to refuse your training certificate if they deem that it is not enough for you to execute the job. They may require you to undergo further training to qualify for the job. Your employer has to ensure that you are competent enough to handle the equipment. You are not just driving it; you are also doing tasks using it.


Safety is paramount


Since you are not handling any ordinary 4-wheeler, but rather, several tons of steel, you always have to be on top of your safety game. You will learn safety measures on your training, and you must always adhere to safety rules when driving heavy equipment, not only for your own safety but for those you work with as well. Do not neglect any safety features that you have to utilise every single time you are driving a forklift or any other heavy equipment.


Once you complete the necessary training and licensing for the specific heavy equipment you will be operating, you can go about your job, but don’t forget to renew your license before it expires, to prevent a work stoppage. Your employer may also ask you to undergo other training for the continuation of your job.


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