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Do you need to be trained and licensed to operate a forklift?

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Yes. Operators must be trained, have a Forklift Operator's Certificate to use a forklift and must be authorised to use it by the employer.

Competenz is the organisation which is responsible for auditing and registering forklift trainers. Certificates are granted by trainers in accordance with the Code of Practice for Training Operators and Instructors of Powered Industrial Lift Trucks. A list of registered forklift trainers may be found at the Competenz website.

The certificate will specify the type of training received by the operator (basic, refresher, specialist, advanced), the forklift type (reach truck, pallet truck, counterbalanced front loading, etc.), the type of motive power, rated capacity and the nature of the attachments. It is required that retraining be undertaken every three years.

Before an employee uses a forklift in a place of work, the employer must issue a written authority verifying that they can.

If a forklift is to be used on a public road, the operator will need to hold a full Class 1 or higher licence and also an “F” endorsement on their driver licence. Note that an “F” endorsement is not enough on its own to meet the law.

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