What Happens If Your Forklift Licence Expires? (By Country)

What Happens If Your Forklift Licence Expires

If you drive a forklift at work, you need a special card called a forklift license. Just like a driver’s license for your car, this card shows you’ve learned how to safely operate a forklift. But what happens if this license runs out? It’s very important to know because driving a forklift with an expired license can get you into trouble.

In this article, we’ll explain what it means when your forklift license expires, what you should do about it, and how to avoid letting it expire in the future.

What Does It Mean When Your Forklift License Expires?

When your forklift license expires, it means that the date has passed when the license is no longer good. Think of it like when the milk in your fridge goes past the date on the label; you shouldn’t use it anymore. Similarly, with an expired forklift license, you can’t legally drive a forklift at work. It’s like your permission to operate the forklift isn’t valid anymore. If you try to use the forklift without renewing your license, you’re breaking the rules, which can lead to trouble at your job and even fines.

Once your forklift license expires, typically after three years from the date it was issued, you are no longer certified under the OSHA guidelines to operate a forklift. This certification is crucial because it confirms you have the necessary training to handle a forklift safely and effectively, minimizing risks of accidents in the workplace.

If you continue to operate a forklift with an expired license, you not only put yourself and your colleagues at risk due to potential safety violations but also expose your employer to legal repercussions. These can include hefty fines and penalties from safety regulatory bodies. In the forklift operation industry, maintaining current certification is considered a basic safety standard, essential for compliance with workplace health and safety regulations.


If you operate a forklift with an expired license, there are some immediate and serious consequences you need to be aware of:

  1. Breaking the Law: Driving a forklift with an expired license is illegal. This means you’re breaking the rules set by safety regulators like OSHA.
  2. Safety Risks: Without a current license, it means you might not be up-to-date on new safety rules or techniques for driving a forklift. This can make it more likely for accidents to happen, which could hurt you or others around you.
  3. Penalties or Fines: If you’re caught driving a forklift with an expired license, both you and your employer could face fines. These fines can be pretty expensive, and they are given out to make sure workplaces take the rules seriously.
  4. Job Problems: Your boss might also take action if they find out you’ve been operating a forklift without a valid license. This could mean a warning, or in some cases, you might even lose your job.

So, it’s really important to make sure your forklift license is always up to date to avoid these risks. Always check the expiration date, and if it’s about to run out, talk to your employer about getting it renewed. This will keep you safe and on the right side of the law.

How to Check if Your License Has Expired

Checking if your forklift license has expired is a simple process that you can do in just a few steps. Here’s how:

  1. Find Your License: Locate your physical forklift license card. This card should have been issued to you after your training session. It’s usually a small, wallet-sized card that you can keep with you.
  2. Check the Date: Look for the expiration date printed on the license card. This date tells you until when your license is valid.
  3. Compare Dates: Check the current date and compare it with the expiration date on your card. If the current date is past the expiration date, your license has expired.

To make sure you don’t forget when your license will expire, here’s a handy tip:

  • Use a Calendar: Mark the expiration date on a calendar that you check regularly. You can use a wall calendar, a planner, or a digital calendar on your phone or computer. Set a reminder a few weeks before the expiration date. This gives you enough time to renew your license without rushing.

By keeping track of the expiration date this way, you can ensure that your forklift license is always up to date, avoiding any disruptions to your work.

What to Do if Your Forklift License Pass Its Validity Date

If you find out that your forklift license has expired, don’t worry! Here’s what you need to do to get it renewed:

  1. Contact Your Employer: Immediately inform your supervisor or the safety coordinator at your workplace that your forklift license has expired. They can provide you with information on when the next training session is scheduled and what you need to do to sign up. This step is crucial as operating a forklift without a valid license is against OSHA regulations and can lead to severe penalties.
  2. Sign Up for Training: Enroll in a forklift operator training course. These courses are often offered by certified training providers and sometimes directly through larger employers. The training curriculum is designed according to standards set by OSHA and will cover topics such as forklift operation, safety protocols, hazard identification, and preventive maintenance. The duration of these courses can vary but typically lasts between 4 to 8 hours.
  3. Complete the Training: Attend the training program diligently. During this phase, you will receive both theoretical and practical instructions. Theoretical instruction includes classroom-based learning about the mechanics of forklifts, understanding load dynamics, and the principles of safe forklift operation. Practical instruction involves hands-on training under the supervision of a qualified instructor, focusing on maneuvering through obstacle courses, handling loads, and vehicle inspections.
  4. Take the Test: After completing the training, you will need to pass an evaluation to demonstrate your forklift operating skills and knowledge of safety procedures. The evaluation typically includes a written test and a practical driving test. The written test checks your understanding of OSHA safety standards and operational knowledge, while the practical test assesses your ability to operate a forklift safely in various situations. Passing these tests is essential to prove your competency and regain your certification.
  5. Get Your New License: Once you pass the tests, you will be issued a new forklift license, which is usually valid for another three years. The new license will have an updated expiration date, which you should note immediately.

Remember, keeping your license updated is not just about following rules—it’s about keeping you and everyone at your workplace safe. So, take the renewal process seriously and make sure you stay certified.

How To Prevent Such Untoward Situations

Keeping your forklift license up to date is very important if you want to keep working safely and legally. Here are some simple tips to make sure your license doesn’t expire:

  1. Set Reminders: Use a calendar on your phone or computer to set a reminder about your license expiration. You can set this reminder a few months before the actual expiration date. This early reminder will give you plenty of time to arrange for renewal training and avoid any last-minute rush.
  2. Regular Training: Even if your license isn’t close to expiring, it’s a good idea to take part in occasional training sessions. These sessions help you stay sharp and keep up with new rules and technologies in the forklift industry. Regular training is also a great way to reinforce safe operation practices, which is a big focus of OSHA standards.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest safety regulations and any changes in forklift operation laws. You can do this by reading industry newsletters, attending safety meetings at work, or joining professional groups for forklift operators.
  4. Keep Documentation Handy: Always keep your forklift certification documents in a safe and easily accessible place. Knowing exactly where your documents are will help you quickly check when it’s time to renew them.
  5. Communicate with Your Employer: Keep in regular touch with your employer about your certification status. Many companies track the expiration dates of their employees’ forklift licenses and can remind you when it’s time to renew.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your forklift license is always current, keeping you compliant with industry standards and workplace safety regulations. Regular updates and training not only keep you legal but also make sure that you’re always at the top of your game when operating a forklift.

Is It The Responsibility of the Employer?

If you’re working as a forklift operator, it’s usually your boss’s job to make sure your forklift license is up to date and to send you to refresher training. This is because the law says that workplaces must be safe, and one way to do that is to make sure everyone who operates a forklift is properly trained and has a valid license. Here’s how it usually works:

  1. Keeping Track of License Expiry: Your employer should keep an eye on when your license is going to expire.
  2. Organizing Training: They should set up training sessions for you. This helps you refresh your skills and learn about any new safety rules.
  3. Paying for Training: Most of the time, your employer will pay for this training because it’s part of keeping the workplace safe.

By doing these things, your employer helps make sure that everyone is safe at work, including you and your coworkers.

When it comes to renewing forklift licenses and conducting refresher training, employers have a couple of options. They can either send operators to an external training facility or hire a third-party trainer to come to the workplace. Many employers prefer the latter option, having the training done on-site, for several good reasons:

  1. Customized Training: By having a trainer come to the workplace, the training program can be tailored specifically to the conditions and needs of that particular work environment. This means the training can address specific challenges or scenarios that operators face daily.
  2. Relevant Examples: On-site training allows the trainer to use real-life examples that are directly relevant to the operators’ daily tasks and the specific types of forklifts they use. This makes the training more practical and applicable.
  3. Convenience: Having training on-site is often more convenient for both the employer and the employees. It eliminates the need for operators to travel to another location, which can save time and reduce disruption to the work schedule.
  4. Direct Supervision: On-site training allows supervisors and other management staff to observe the training. This can be beneficial as it gives them a better understanding of the training content and how it applies to their specific operations.
  5. Team Training: When training is conducted on-site, it’s easier to train multiple employees at once, fostering a team environment and ensuring that all operators are on the same page with safety practices and operational procedures.

For these reasons, on-site training with a third-party trainer is often seen as the most effective method to ensure forklift operators are proficient and their certifications are current, directly enhancing workplace safety and efficiency.

Renewal By Country

United States

  • Expiration: In the US, forklift licenses typically expire every three years.
  • Steps to Renew: To renew your forklift license, you usually need to complete a refresher training course through your employer or a certified training provider. This course will cover safety procedures, equipment handling, and the latest regulations.
  • Regulation: The renewal process is governed by the OSHA. OSHA requires operators to undergo evaluation and training to ensure they are still capable of operating forklifts safely.


  • Expiration: Forklift certification in Canada also generally expires after three years.
  • Steps to Renew: Operators should attend a refresher course offered by an accredited training provider. Employers often organize these courses to comply with local safety standards.
  • Regulation: Regulations can vary by province, but all training must comply with standards set by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) or the relevant provincial safety bodies.


  • Expiration: In Australia, the need for renewal depends on the state but typically, high-risk work licenses, including for forklifts, need to be renewed every five years.
  • Steps to Renew: You must apply for renewal with the licensing body in your state, such as WorkSafe Victoria or SafeWork NSW. This often involves proving you’ve maintained your skills, which may include submitting a logbook of operation hours or undergoing practical assessment. The refresher can be given by a registered training organization.
  • Regulation: The renewal is regulated by Safe Work Australia, and specific requirements can vary slightly between states.

United Kingdom

  • Expiration: Forklift operator licenses in the UK don’t expire, but best practices suggest operators should undergo refresher training every three to five years or if they begin operating a new type of machinery.
  • Steps to Renew: While not legally required, it’s recommended to take a refresher course through an accredited provider to stay up-to-date with safety practices and new technologies.
  • Regulation: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines suggest regular training and evaluation but do not set a fixed expiry for certifications.

In each of these countries, keeping your forklift license up-to-date is crucial for workplace safety and compliance with local laws. Regular training ensures you’re aware of the latest safety protocols and machinery operation techniques.

To Make a Conclusion

If your forklift license expires, you’re not allowed to operate a forklift until it’s renewed. This is because driving a forklift without a valid license is illegal and can be very dangerous. You could get into trouble with the law, face fines, or even lose your job. To avoid these problems, it’s important to keep track of when your license is due to expire and arrange for renewal training in advance. Always make sure you’re up-to-date with your training so that you can stay safe and keep your job secure. Remember, it’s better to be safe and prepared than sorry later!


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