A forklift is an indispensable machine; it is needed in almost all factories, manufacturing plants, retail stores, markets and so many more. With a forklift, materials and products are moved from one area to another with ease and in the least amount of time.
And of course there is no denying that time is of utmost importance no matter what industry you are in. It’s a guarantee that when products are manufactured and delivered on time, customers will be satisfied and revenues increase.
In Australia, there are thousands of forklift operators. These workers drive and operate forklifts for a living. There are also huge numbers of accidents and trouble resulting to improper operation of forklifts and this is why, aside from training, a license to operate is required. It is important that an operator secure a forklift license before he operates this machine.
This guide will help first time operators secure their license and guide them with updated information on how courses and training is done.
What is a forklift license?
A forklift license is a document that is issued to people that have undergone training courses and have passed a test to operate a forklift. Just like a driver’s license, this kind of license ensures that the operator or driver is well-trained, is skilled in operating different kinds of forklifts and is well-versed in forklift operation safety.
Under the Model Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), there are certain types of work that are classified as high risk. There are categories of work that are high risk and 2 of these categories apply to operating a forklift and operating an order picking/stock picking forklift. Any one that undertakes this type of work needs to have a fork lift license.
The National Reform Agenda Safework Australia and the Model Work Health and Safety Act supports workers all throughout Australia. Both agencies strive to provide efficient and similar standards when it comes to the operation of heavy machinery, such as a high reach forklift in different industries.
Operators of machines such as forklifts are covered by standards and have the same rights and obligations to health and safety as other workers and employees throughout Australia.
Licensing as well as provision of forklift tickets is not undertaken by a national agency, but it is provided by state bodies. There are nationally recognised individual State and Territory agencies that provide licenses.
An individual with a license will be able to work as a forklift operator in any State or Territory. Cancellations and suspensions of licenses in any State will then be recognised in all States and Territories.
What are the different types of licenses available?
There are two types of forklift licenses offered in Australia. An LF license and an LO license. The main difference between the two licenses is the kind of vehicle that the operator is permitted to drive.
This is a license to operate any kind of forklift truck, except ones that need an LO license. The License to Conduct High Risk Work – Forklift – permits the use of a forklift truck other than an order-picking forklift truck.
A forklift truck is an industrial truck with a lifting mechanism that is composed of a mast and an elevating load carriage with a pair of fork arms that may be raised 900mm or more from the ground. An LF truck does not include a pedestrian-operated truck or a pallet truck.
This kind of truck is powered by an electric motor or an internal combustion engine that runs on petrol, LPG or diesel fuels. The most common uses of an LF are to lift and transport any kind of materials.
This is a license to operate a type of forklift called an LO forklift or an order picker/stock picker type forklift. This license requires the operator to wear a harness that is attached to a lanyard, since the platform where he is seated moves up or down to allow the operator to pick stocks at varying levels.
Additional forklift controls are incorporated inside the forklift carriage to raise or lower the operator platform. This kind of forklift is ideal in a warehouse setting since it adjusts to the height where the packaged items are located for easy picking and transportation.
The forklift safety is very important in the use of this machine and therefore a license is extremely necessary.
What forklift training is available in Australia?
Australian forklift training courses for these two kinds of licenses are available in Australia. Training is conducted under the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work and these are performed by a Registered Training Organisation.
The National High Risk License Unit of Competence TLILIC2001A is the unit of competence needed to obtain a license to operate a forklift truck. The Unit of Competence LILIC2002A is the unit of competence needed for a license to operate an order picking forklift truck.
Forklift course overview
A forklift course is based on the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work and is undertaken through a Registered Training Organisation.
It usually takes around 2 to 3 days to complete and this is concluded with an assessment, which covers forklift license test questions. Here are the some important items covered in a forklift training course:
Training courses apply to planning forklift jobs, conducting routine checks on the forklift, shifting loads in a safe and efficient manner, shutting down the equipment and securing the forklift after the job is complete.
- Planning work – planning the job that needs to be done using a forklift is very important and it is during this time that potential hazards in the workplace are identified and suitable control measures are ensured for the safety of the operator and the equipment. In a training course, the operator is also trained to select the appropriate forklift according to the load and the workplace conditions. Finally, the working area is assessed to find out if the forklift has an appropriate path of movement to transport the load.
- Conducting routine checks – along with operating a forklift, an operator should also be able to conduct routine checks on his equipment. This activity is very important before and after a forklift is used.
Checks are done by visually checking the forklift for any damage or defects, ensuring that signage and labels are visible and legible, according to the appropriate standards and all the equipment controls are identified.
Checks should be done before the forklift is started. When the forklift is started, it is assessed for any abnormal noise. Checks are also done after the equipment has been started. All functions and safety devices are tested and any defects and damages are immediately reported and recorded. Appropriate action is done by the operator.
- Shifting loads – an operator should be able to effortlessly and safely shift loads. Training courses teach operators to correctly assess the weight of the load in compliance to forklift data plate specifications. Training also ensures that appropriate hazard prevention or control measures are implemented, the forklift is operated at a safe speed, loads are moved ensuring the stability of the material and reducing hazards, and the movement of loads are constantly monitored to ensure the safety of the operator and the load. Any kind of unsafe conditions are communicated by the operator to his supervisor and should be handled appropriately.
- Shutting down and securing the forklift – training is needed to ensure that safe shut down of the equipment is done after a job is completed and the forklift is secured in a safe location. The operator should park the forklift in a suitable area to avoid hazards, the equipment is shut down and routine post-operational checks are done. The forklift should be secured to prevent unauthorized access and finally the operator reports any defects and damage to the equipment so that appropriate action is done.
Anyone who wishes to obtain a forklift license should have the following skills and knowledge:
- Must be able to accurately interpret information that he has learned regarding the operation of forklifts.
- Should conduct forklift truck operations, as well as all the function to the maximum height and load capacity.
- Must be able to identify potential hazards that are associated with the operation of a forklift. He should be able to assess any potential risks and use effective control measures at once.
- Should have communication skills that are sufficient to communicate with other site employees. Someone who is unable to speak the local dialect or language may not be able to effectively interpret work instructions, safety information and site emergency procedures.
- Must be able to drive a forklift with load in forward and reverse while maintaining visibility of all directions.
- Must be able to immediately assess any problems and faults of equipment and apply appropriate procedures in response to these problems.
- Must be knowledgeable of the methodologies of determining the weight of a load.
- Must be aware of state or territory OH&S legislation and standards that are pertaining to the safe operation of forklifts.
- Must understand the characteristics of forklifts and features of each.
- Must understand the hierarchy of hazards and how to control each.
- Must be able to identify organizational and workplace standards, procedures and requirements for operation of forklifts.
- Must be knowledgeable in recording, reporting and maintaining workplace records and pertinent information.
- Must be aware of safe forklift operations.
- Must be able to point out the most common routine problems that are usually encountered in the operation of forklifts and the recommended adjustment procedures to correct these problems.
After a training course, an assessment of the operator’s skills and knowledge is done. The following should be kept in mind:
- An endorsed Assessment Instrument is used to assess the safe application of knowledge and skills.
- The assessment of operator performance is done in a workplace or in a realistically simulated workplace environment.
- The assessment is conducted while keeping in mind standard and authorised work practices, requirements for safety and environmental factors that may affect skills assessment.
- The operator should wear Personal Protective Equipment or PPE while the Performance Assessment is being conducted.
- The operator should use associated equipment according to forklift operations during the assessment.
- The operator lifts suitable loads as endorsed by the Assessment Instrument being used.
- The assessment follows manufacturer’s specifications in the use of forklift equipment.
- The assessment follows appropriate and safe forklift operation.
There are specific methods of assessment used in determining the skills and knowledge learned by the operator. Keep in mind the following:
- An endorsed Assessment Instrument should always be used since these provide instructions on the application of assessment.
- Simulators should never be used in the assessment of the unit of competency of the operator.
- Assessment may be done together with the assessment of other units of competency.
- Assessment should be done under one circumstance but should be done in different circumstances as well.
- Additional information about endorsed Assessment Instruments may be obtained from the appropriate state or territory OH&S regulators.
Most of the contents of training for LF forklifts are also taught in LO forklift training with a few additional topics covered. An Order/Stock Picker Course is ideal for forklift operators that have no previous experience in using Warehousing Lifting Equipment. Just like in LF training, the applicant is guided in a simulated, but realistic, working environment.
Courses focus on forklift truck theory and current safety regulations to ensure the safety and health of the operator and the efficiency of the equipment.
There are some important things that should be kept in mind when taking a training course on work safety and the operation of forklifts. These should be remembered before, during and after a training course:
- All applicants should collect and complete a forklift training manual. This should be read, understood and referred to whenever some important conditions arise. Manuals are provided by Registered Training Organisations or may be delivered via mail. RTOs recommend applicants to at least read and understand the contents of a Workbook manual through independent study for at least 5 days before actual training begins.
- All applicants should be at least 18 years old by the time of training and must have 100 points of ID to qualify for the course.
- All applicants that are interested in taking up forklift training should wear closed shoes or safety boots.
- Applicants should be at the RTO early or at least arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start of a training course.
- Applicants will sit a practical TCP Training Assessment before they proceed in taking the Work Cover. This assessment is provided to find out if the applicant is competent enough to be able to pass the Work Cover test.
- If an applicant fails the TCP Training Assessment then he may take a further day of training. In most Registered Training Organisations, this will cost $100 per day. If the applicant fails Work Cover assessment, he needs to wait for at least 48 hours before he could take this assessment before it can be re-taken. A fee of $150 will apply for retaking the assessment.
- Read and understand the RTO site’s frequently asked questions and about their policies before you start the course. Any questions about payment, registration or booking of courses, requirements and course details should be addressed to the RTO customer service.
- Some Registered Training Organisations provide free protective gear for applicants, however, it is advised that applicants bring their own gear in case this is not provided. The most commonly provided protective gear are hard hats and high visibility vests. Shoes for work safety should be worn from the first day of forklift training till the day of assessment.
What does a forklift license course cost?
The course of forklift training courses to be able to secure a workcover license may vary from different training companies and the course that you would like to take.
Aside from training to secure an LO or an LF forklift license, there are some Registered Training Organisations that offer extensive courses according to the type of industry you are in.
Applicants or forklift operators are recommended to take licensure training courses, as well as additional training to be able to extensively improve their skills and knowledge in handling a forklift equipment in different situations.
Here are some of the most common examples of forklift courses offered in different territories and states in Australia:
|Training Courses||Cost||Additional Fees||Duration|
|Elevated Work Platform||$350||$84 payable to Worksafe||2 day course|
|Work at Heights||$260||1 day course|
|Enter Confined Space||$260||1 day course|
|Non experienced forklift courses||$380||$84 payable to Worksafe||2 day course plus 1 day for Work Cover Assessment|
|Experienced forklift courses||$290||$84 payable to Worksafe||1 day course plus 1 day for Work Cover Assessment|
Important information about booking a forklift training course
Applicants should read the terms and conditions, as well as payment and booking conditions of Registered Training Organisations. An RTO with an online site usually provides all the details about its terms and conditions, payments and booking on its Terms and Conditions page.
The following are current guidelines in some RTO:
- Booking courses may be made personally or via online sites. Full payments for courses are possible, but if this is not follower by the applicant, a deposit is usually paid to secure booking before the course date. The balance should be paid at the due date. The most is a 75% deposit amount is required for booking.
- If balance is not paid on the due date, booking will be automatically removed from the course and the slot will be given to another applicant. Cancellation policies will apply.
- If you wish to cancel your reservation, you should do so within 7 days. When cancellation has been made 1 to 7 days before the course starts, the applicant may be able to invoiced for $75 of the overall cost of the training.. If cancellation is done for less than a day before the classes start, the applicant may be invoiced for the full cost of the course.
- Applicants are told if a course training is not available. Otherwise, applicants should contact customer service to wait when a training course or program for forklift training is not available.
- Applicants may be able to take several states at a time. However it is recommended that an applicant takes courses one at a time to ensure that learning becomes more efficient.
- Forklift courses are available online any day of the year. Some RTOs offer discounts and special offers for applicants that wish to take more than one course. For instance inexperienced forklift courses are taken together with Work at Heights and Confined Space training which helps the applicant in his line of work and allows the applicant to save money.
Once you have determined the forklift course that you would like to take, you should remember the following before you book: courses usually last for 3 days (two days for training and a day for assessment).
Two days are needed to extensively study the different theories and learning materials needed to operate a forklift safely and efficiently and for the operator to learn efficient skills in using a forklift. A single day is allotted for assessment.
An applicant may need to take a few days leave from work to be able to complete all training and assessment requirements to secure a forklift license. Training days are usually held every Mondays and Tuesdays or Fridays and Saturdays. Assessment days are usually done every Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.
Schedules may vary according to the availability of the courses, the climate or weather conditions, the availability of the instructor and the Registered Training Organisation location. Applicants are recommended to call or contact the RTO for more information about training schedules and course details.
Important training requirements:
States and territories may have different requirements to be able to undertake training and assessment. Once an applicant has successfully completed testing, he will be issued a temporary license varied for 60 days.
Applicants granted a 60-day temporary license will need to lodge a complete and signed application form plus an original “Notice of Assessment for License to Perform High Risk Work” with Australia post in this period, a full license to operate a forklift will then be provided. A license fee of $60.00 is required.
Documents needed for training:
All Registered Training Organisation require applicants for forklift license to submit at least one of the following documents before training is given:
- Passport (Should be current or expired, but not more than 2 years ago. Passport should not be cancelled)
- Australian driver’s license complete with photo
- Australian Public Service Employee ID Card complete with photo
- Other types of Australian Government issued ID card complete with photo
- Tertiary Student ID card with photo
I used to be a forklift driver; do I need to do a forklift refresher course?
If you need to brush up on your skills as a forklift operator, a refresher course may be taken. A refresher course or an experienced forklift training course usually takes only a day to complete.
Attendees are required to pay a forklift refresher course price which ranges from $290 to $350, depending on the state or territory where the RTO is located.
A refresher course is recommended for people that would like to work as a forklift operator and may have had training before. Considering that there are regular updates when it comes to work safety in different territories and states, a refresher course is therefore a must.
A refresher course also covers the following topics, but are less detailed than forklift courses meant for inexperienced operators:
- An overview of the different forklift types and uses of each
- Load charts, types and characteristics
- Lifting attachment types and uses and how to safely shift and manoeuvre a variety of loads
- Planning and managing risks in work environment
- Pre and post start checks in equipment
- Safe driving skills
- Forklift shutdown and post checks
- Associated paperwork for forklift reporting
A verification of competency is delivered on-site or from training facilities.
Refresher courses also help experienced operators become certified for another type of forklift license. For instance, an LF truck operator uses a refresher course about LO forklifts to improve his learning and skills.
And just like in an ordinary forklift course, the applicant should remember to wear safety equipment while in training. Operation of forklifts are categorized as high risk work and therefore applicants should wear protective equipment like hard hats, safety and visible vests, safety boots and safety gloves.
A refresher course is available in almost all RTOs in Australia. Prices and rates may vary but the content will always be for experienced forklift operators. Contact RTOs in your state or territory to find out more about refresher course information, rates and schedules.
What type of job can I get once qualified?
Forklift jobs are available in most industries all over Australia. The need for a forklift operator never ceases, since there are always materials, goods and finished products to move and to store.
- You may work as a forklift driver and work in usual industries and companies that uses a forklift. You could lift products and goods and load them in trucks or vice versa.
- Aside from simply driving and operating a forklift, a stock picker forklift is usually used. By becoming a licensed LO forklift operator, you will be able to work in warehouses, ports, ships and in different companies.
- Licensed forklift operators may find work in building and construction where heavy materials are lifted and transported to different areas where they are needed. Delicate construction materials, such as natural rocks and tiles may also be carried using a forklift. Construction industries could vary; these may be in civil and resource industries or in building commercial or residential properties.
- Since licenses are valid all throughout the country regardless of where it was originally issued, forklift operators are able to work across different states and territories and therefore have access to a wide variety of work opportunities.
- Retail businesses use forklifts in their warehouses and without forklifts, goods are displayed and sold faster while stocks are organized with the use of warehousing equipment such as a forklift.
Forklift jobs could vary from simple to complicated work and therefore could also be simple to very dangerous and so keeping a license to operate forklift trucks and stock picking forklifts are necessary in every industry.
Not only will a license speaks a lot about an operator or driver’s skills and knowledge, it also means that he is updated with the latest technology and safety measures for forklifts and similar equipment.
Finding forklift jobs
You could be asking how to look for suitable forklift jobs now that you have passed your license test. Traditional ways to look for jobs still work best for forklift operation and this is through newspaper ads, flyers, and actual forklift job hiring posters, and through word of mouth from reliable sources.
Forklift jobs may also be found online from sites that provide information on possible jobs. There are online ads sites, community sites and company websites too that advertise companies that need forklift operators – you could check these out to find a job that is the most suitable for you.
Forklift operation and driving is one of the most high risk jobs anywhere, but at the same time could be rewarding as well. Compensation varies from state to state and from one company to another.
Aside from compensation, there are also employee benefits that makes working as an operator worthwhile.