No matter the environment, operating a forklift requires you to be alert at all times, as well as remaining fully aware of your surroundings and safety.
In Australia, only someone who has a high-risk work forklift license is allowed to operate the vehicle, even if it’s only to be used for a short distance across the warehouse. This means it’s crucial you have staff on board who are qualified to operate the machinery, as well as a carrier of a valid licence.
For those that jump onto operating one without adhering to these regulations, you run the risk of causing damage to stock, the actual vehicle and those in its vicinity. And that’s one incident you don’t want to have to deal with.
Be it damaged products, serious injury, or – at its worst – fatalities – failing to follow the rules is risky business. So, at what point are you required to undergo training?
Commencing training and guidance
Each and every driver intending on using a forklift must undergo training and apply for a licence before they’re legally permitted to operate the vehicle at all. In Australia, this is mandatory.
Training to get a high-risk work forklift license requires completing a course at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). During training stages, however, you are permitted to operate a forklift, as part of development and experience. In these cases, there are several guidelines you must follow, including:
- Being enrolled in a forklift operator training course with an RTO; and;
- Must be directly supervised while operating the vehicle, at all times. The supervisor must be someone has suitable workplace experience and the correct licence to perform high-risk work.
What to consider before getting started
Before you jump into finding an RTO, commencing training and applying for a licence, there are a few essentials worth considering, including:
- Why do you need a forklift licence?
- Will you be a full-time forklift driver? Or will you be helping out with operating a forklift occasionally?
- What type of vehicle will you be required to operate?
- Are you willing to undergo intensive training? Are you willing to study the provided material to pass your licence exam?
The various licences
So you’ve identified that you need to undergo forklift training, the next step is to consider the type of licence you’ll be required to carry. Typically, there are two primary classifications, which are dependent on what type of equipment you’ll be operating regularly: LF and LO. An RTO can help guide you through which one is the most suitable for you.
Why is training required?
Forklift training is essential to ensure that you’re fully capable and equipped to operate the machinery safely and confidently. It’s also important for guiding you towards complying with legislative requirements at all times.
After you have passed all the necessary training and have acquired your licence, you’ll be legally able to operate the vehicle for five years. You can renew your licence after this time, without any further testing or training.