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Forklifts offer a convenient way to move large items around warehouses and other sites. However, forklifts can also be hazardous vehicles when operated by a person without proper training, which is why a licence is needed. Read on to learn about forklift licencing requirements, including how to get a forklift licence in Australia.

What Is A Forklift Licence?

A forklift licence validates that you know how to operate a forklift. Warehouses and many industrial sites use forklifts to move large, heavy objects and stacked items. Forklifts are vehicles with forked platforms. A forklift operator can raise and lower the platform for insertion in pallets.

Forklifts are used in a wide range of industries beyond the construction industry. Retail, manufacturing, and hospitality industries also use these vehicles to transport heavy items.

Two types of forklift licences are available in Australia. Workers may obtain an LO or LF forklift licence. An LO forklift licence is for the operation of order-picking forklift trucks, which are also called stock pickers or very narrow aisle (VNA) vehicles.

These types of forklifts are often used to retrieve inventory in areas with tight spaces or very high shelving. However, the design includes an elevating platform, requiring the operator to wear a harness.

An LF forklift license is for the operation of all other types of forklifts. With an LF licence, you can operate a standard forklift truck equipped with a pair of forked arms. Unlike the operators of LO trucks, you do not need a harness.

How to Get a Forklift Licence? (NSW, QLD, Melbourne)

A high-risk work licence is needed to operate a forklift in NSW. You must be at least 18 years of age and understand English. You also need to complete an on-site training course through a registered training organisation (RTO) at a training centre near you.

The course may include several days of training. Safely operating a forklift requires training due to the many hazards and risks. For example, overweight or unbalanced loads can cause forklift trucks to tip over, resulting in injuries and accidents.

Forklift safety training prepares workers to safely use forklift trucks. The main categories covered during training include:

  • Planning
  • Conducting routine checks
  • Proper shift load
  • Shutting down and securing forklifts

Forklift safety courses cover rules and safety procedures for operating these vehicles, which start with planning for the use of a forklift. Forklifts are dangerous vehicles that can cause serious injuries and death.

Proper planning helps mitigate hazards and protect workers. For example, workers learn to use hand signals and audible or visual warning devices for safer communication. Some work sites may also require the use of two-way radios or traffic warning systems.

The course includes knowledge-based training and practical training. At the end of the course, participants complete a written exam and a practical assessment to demonstrate their understanding of the course material.

After completing the training course and practical assessment, you can apply for a high-risk work licence through the appropriate regulatory body in your state or territory:

  • New South Wales (NSW) – Application form submitted via post to SafeWork NSW
  • Queensland – Application completed online through WorkSafe QLD
  • Melbourne (Victoria) – Application submitted online or via post to WorkSafe Victoria

Most regions require applicants to apply for their licences within 60 days of completing the forklift training course and exam. Along with your statement of attainment from the RTO, you will need personal identification and funds to cover the application fee. High-risk work licences for forklifts remain valid for five years.

How to Renew Your Forklift Licence In NSW?

The renewal process varies slightly around the country, but all states and territories require you to renew within 12 months of the expiration date. As soon as the expiration date arrives, you are no longer authorised to operate a forklift. You have 12 months to renew before you need to retake the training course and exam.

If you reside in Queensland, you need to renew the forklift licence through the High-Risk Work Applicant/Licensee Services website.

Individuals in New South Wales (NSW) need to submit the forklift licence renewal application through a local Australia Post outlet. SafeWork NSW sends a renewal form two months before the expiration date of the licence.

In Melbourne and the rest of Victoria, WorkSafe Victoria sends a renewal notice 90 days before the expiration date. As in NSW, you can submit the renewal through the mail.

How Much Is a Forklift Licence?

How much does a forklift licence cost? The cost of training and applying for a licence varies throughout the country. A high-risk work (HRW) licence costs $81 in NSW and $102.60 in Queensland.

The cost of the training course can range from a few hundred dollars to close to a thousand dollars. Online courses may be available at a lower cost, but they do not meet the requirements for obtaining a new licence.

Additional training may be needed for certain types of work. For example, depending on the work environment, you may also need to complete the Working from Heights or Confined Spaces training courses. If you want the best prices for dependable safety training, explore available and upcoming courses at AlertForce.

How to Operate a Forklift?

Operating a forklift typically involves the use of levers to adjust the height and tilt of the fork. A steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal control the movement of the wheels. The fork is raised at least five centimetres off the ground to keep it from scraping the ground as the operator drives.

The basic operation of a forklift is not complex. However, certain safety procedures must be followed to minimise the risk of accidents and injuries. Forklift training courses cover the four main steps involved in operating a forklift.

  1. Planning

    The planning process involves assessing the work area to determine if the forklift is suitable for the task. The operator must also inspect the paths that the forklift will take and identify any hazards. A traffic management plan may also be needed in certain facilities.

  2. Preparing

    Preparing for work is the second step and involves conducting routine checks. The operator needs to inspect the forklift to ensure that it is ready to use and in good working condition. If any attachments are needed, they are added during this stage of the task.

  3. Performing the Task

    The operator then carries out the work task, which requires positioning the load to avoid shifting the weight of the forklift. The position of the load can increase or decrease the risk of the truck or the load tipping over. Workers also need to continuously monitor the load and their surroundings.

  4. Packing Up

    When the task is complete, the operator needs to follow specific shutdown procedures. The operator may also need to secure a forklift to keep unauthorised individuals from using it.

Conclusion

Forklift licences are required to legally operate a forklift. Obtaining a licence involves completing a forklift quality training course. After you finish the course, you can send an application to the SafeWork or WorkSafe organisation in your state.

Sign up for forklift training to meet the requirements for a forklift licence in Australia.

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