Every year, forklift accidents and fatalities cause high human and financial costs for the community, workers and industries.
To increase awareness about the dangers of working around forklifts, workplace health and safety authorities regularly conduct forklift safety blitzes, with safety inspectors visiting businesses and work sites unannounced for forklift compliance safety checks.
The goal is to confirm if businesses abide by the licensing laws and safety standards and ultimately reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries and fatalities.
What do I need to be aware of?
Currently, NSW is undergoing a 3-month forklift safety blitz until the end of July.
Following a spate of recent fatalities, 30 SafeWork NSW safety inspectors will proactively visit workplaces across the State to conduct forklift compliance safety checks and provide educational material.
In a media statement, SafeWork said it would be stepping up its compliance and education efforts, visiting over 600 workplaces to conduct compliance safety checks and provide the necessary support.
The message today is clear: think about safety before you operate a forklift, check the area is clear of pedestrians, the load is secure and you have enough room to use the forklift safely.
Inspectors will also be issuing fines for safety breaches if businesses and drivers are caught doing the wrong thing.
Understanding Forklift Licencing – Prepare for SafeWork’s Blitz
One of the most important things to have squared away is to ensure that all forklift operators hold active and valid licences.
According to SafeWork NSW regulations, all forklift operators should have a valid licence. It can be either a Class LO licence or a Class LF licence acquired after training with a registered training organisation.
What’s the Difference Between an LO and An LF Forklift Licence?
The main difference between the two licences is the type of vehicle the licence allows you to operate.
An LF Forklift Licence
With an LF forklift licence, you can safely handle any forklift truck, except load-shifting order picking trucks or Class LO vehicles.
This also includes:
- Reach and high reach forklifts
- Counterbalance forklifts
- All-terrain forklifts
- Sideloading forklifts
- Truck-mounted forklifts
You need to complete an LF forklift training course to get an LF forklift licence, and it covers all the requirements for a national High-Risk Work Licence Class LF to operate forklifts.
An LO Forklift Licence
With an LO licence, you can safely handle a turret truck, a load-shifting order picker or a VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) truck.
During operation, you’ll need to wear a harness because the operator’s platform elevates to allow you to pick and drop packages at various heights, usually up to 10m. You’ll need both a high-risk work licence and the LO forklift licence.
Once you complete an LO forklift training course at a registered training organisation, you’ll receive your operating licence.
Where to Enrol in a Forklift Training Course
Although NSW is in the spotlight right now, this doesn’t mean that other states are exempt – safety blitzes frequently run in different locations throughout Australia. The only way to ensure you are covered is to make sure anyone who drives a forklift in your workplace is doing so safely.
When you learn how to operate a forklift at a forklift training course, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to secure loads properly, ensure you have enough room to use the forklift safely and be fully aware of pedestrians.
The best training environment is where you interact with realistic site conditions and actual equipment. It’s the most effective way to prepare you for the job with hands-on experience.
Kallibr Training (RTO 32365) offers forklift training in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Our assessors use realistic workplace environments to train and assess your knowledge and skills. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a statement of attainment that you’ll use to complete the licence application process. The local workplace safety authority will issue you a plastic wallet card forklift licence.
The Forklift Safety Project has been running since June 2021 with efforts stepped up since March this year. For more information visit SafeWork NSW.