It can be confusing to get a grip on which permission you need for your forklift licence, which is why it is essential that you make sure you acquire the correct one.
But to understand why there are different licences and requirements, we first need to understand what is actually considered to be a forklift. It seems like it would be obvious, but there are some strict definitions that help determine whether or not a forklift is classified as such. For instance, the General Guide for Industrial Lift Trucks defines forklifts as such:
“A forklift truck is a powered industrial lift truck equipped with lifting media made up of a mast and elevating load carriage with a pair of fork arms or other arms that can be raised 900 mm or more off the ground.”
Now that we’ve established what defines a forklift, let’s take a look at the many potential hazards that can occur on a worksite when operating a forklift. Some of the key hazards include:
- Excessive speed—especially while turning
- Heavy braking
- Sloped surfaces
- Unbalanced loads
The Forklifts Information Sheet for Owners and Operators goes into great detail about how to safely operate forklifts, and it is a must-read for all responsible forklift operators. Even if you think you’ve got a good grasp on the rules, it never hurts to ensure you’re doing everything by the books. In Australia, there have been 61 forklift deaths since 2003, but with proper safety precautions and licencing, forklift deaths will hopefully be a thing of the past.
Assuming you are operating what is officially classified as a forklift, what licence do you need?
You will need a High-Risk Work Licence (LF); specifically, you will need a TLILIC2001 – Licence to Operate a Forklift Truck. There are no prerequisites for this course, but be advised that a pedestrian-operated lift truck or a manually powered pallet truck is not considered to be a forklift truck.