Forklift Training

There are two classes of forklift licences and in order for you to operate either one of them you require a high-risk work licence.

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Training & Recognition

Forklift licenses

Why you need a licence?

There are two classes of forklift licences and in order for you to operate either one of them you require a high-risk work licence.

Forklifts fit into two categories and include a forklift truck equipped with a mast and an elevating load carriage with a pair of fork arms or other attachments, which is a class LF. The second is an order picking forklift truck where the operator’s control elevates with the load carriage/lifting media, which is class LO.

A person that operates a forklift must obtain and be the holder of a high risk forklift licence and have completed a training course by a recognised Registered Training Organisation.

Under Safe Work Australia law, a person training to operate a forklift may operate a forklift at their workplace if they have the following:

  • Enrolled with an RTO to train as a forklift operator
  • Directly supervised while operating the forklift by a person who has both the right licence to perform high risk work and suitable workplace experience


What do I need to know about operating a forklift?

Operating a forklift is a high-risk piece of machinery and accidents can happen especially with pedestrians in and around worksites or factories.

Obtaining a licence will prepare you for any situation and give you the necessary skills to avoid workplace accidents and deaths.

The following are topics covered in your training course that will not only benefit your safety but your work mates as well:

  • being aware of other vehicles and people and giving clear indications of your intentions to others. For example sound the horn especially around blind spots or corners
  • driving at safe speeds and following speed limits at all times in the warehouse or on site and following load limits
  • understanding how to drive with fork arms as close to the ground as is reasonably practicable with the tips titled slightly upwards whether your carrying a load or not
  • how to avoid speeding, decelerating and turning too quickly which are the main causes of forklifts tipping over
  • being aware of fumes and carbon dioxide poisoning especially if your operating a propane powered forklift indoors
  • always ensuring your forklift is stopped and secured at the loading dock and how to set the brakes
  • learning how to adjust your operating style to match the conditions, the ground surface, weather especially if your operating your forklift outdoors, understanding the layout of the operating area and other hazards to look out for like water, oil spills and other obstructions
  • understanding road conditions if you have to access roads and public areas
  • avoiding distracting behavior like answering your mobile phone
  • understanding and always following the manufactures instructions when free rigging (slinging a load under the forks) and using lift straps


What can cause a forklift to turnover?

The main cause of accidents when operating a forklift is if they turnover and there are a number of reasons this can happen. Throughout your training, safety will be the number one issue your trainer discusses and the following examples will be highlighted so you know how to prevent a workplace accident while operating the forklift.

  • Excessive speed
  • Heavy braking
  • Overloading
  • Moving with an elevated load
  • Travelling down ramps with the load forward
  • Turning sideways on ramps
  • Sloping surfaces


What if I’m working on an elevated work platform?

Some forklifts are designed to lift people but it’s important to understand that workboxes should only be used to raise people performing occasional tasks and must be securely attached to the forklift. It’s important when operating this type of forklift that the manufacturers recommendations regarding weight and height are followed at all times to avoid accidents or even death.

Training will provide you with the following skills for operating an elevated work platform:

  • being able to check the forklift is suitable and can carry expected loads and has the correct workbox attachments
  • checking the workbox is attached securely in accordance with the manufacturers instructions
  • ensuring people can exit the workbox and the forklift in the event of a failure in its normal operation
  • learning the importance of the park brake, the controls being in neutral and the mast vertical
  • how to perform a test lift with the workbox attached before people enter the workbox
  • why you must remain at the controls at all times while people are in the workbox


Here’s what the workplace health and safety regulatory bodies have to say on getting your licence:

Safework NSW

According to Safework NSW, you are eligible to obtain a licence if you:

  • are at least 18 years of age
  • complete a recognised training course with an RTO and have been assessed as competent by an assessor working for the RTO
  • can use English at a level that enables the safe performance of high risk work

The assessor will have the application forms you need for a new card after you have completed your training and assessment. You will then take those forms to your nearest Australia Post office as well as 100 points of ID. You will also need to bring with you a passport sized and quality photo of yourself with your name and date of birth printed on the back.

Worksafe ACT

All training in high risk work must be delivered in the form of an accredited course or unit of competency provided by a registered training organisation, registered with the Australian Skills Quality Authority having the scope to train the specified vocational educational training course, or each of the specified vocational educational training courses for the high risk work licence applied for in the ACT.

NT Worksafe

The use of forklift is considered high-risk work (HRW) and requires the operator to hold an appropriate licence to perform high-risk work issued by NT WorkSafe.

Workplace Health and Safety QLD

Classroom training must be provided by a registered training organisation (RTO) with approval to deliver the particular course information. Complete the online registration, which must be done within 60 days of successfully completing the practical assessment.

Safework SA

Once you have completed your training, an Assessor who is accredited with SafeWork SA will assess you. Accredited Assessors must be affiliated with RTOs, so your assessment may be arranged for you. The Assessor will ask you to sign a declaration that you are over 18 years of age and have not previously been issued with a Licence for this class of work.

Workplace Standards Tasmania

To apply for a licence to perform high-risk work or to have an additional class added to your licence, you must:

  • be 18 years of age and
  • have successfully completed a competency assessment with an accredited HRW licence assessor.

Worksafe Victoria

A licence to perform high-risk work is required if you work with certain high-risk equipment or plant. High-risk work licences are issued by WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017.

A high-risk work licence is valid for up to five years. The date on which a licence expires is shown on the licence card.

The licence is valid in every Australian state and territory, enabling you to operate high-risk equipment under consistent standards everywhere in Australia.

Worksafe WA

You will need to be trained by a Registered Training Organisation and assessed by a WorkSafe Registered Assessor.

At the completion of your training and assessment your Registered Training Organisation will show you how to apply to WorkSafe for your High Risk Work licence. Your application should be lodged within 60 days of the date on your notice of satisfactory assessment.

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