Want to be a Forklift Operator in Australia? Here is All You Need to Know

The construction, manufacturing and processing industries in Australia make up the fastest growing sectors of the economy.

Their staffing needs have been equally high, driving a steady demand for qualified personnel to oversee operations in these industries. Among the most in-demand professionals are forklift operators.

For those interested in this line of work, this article will guide you through what you need to know before pursuing a career as a forklift operator.

Forklift Operator Training

To enrol in a forklift operations course, you will need to be 18 years and above at the time of your application.

You should also be able to read and write effectively in English. Foreigners must have their immigration papers in order as well.

Some states also require you to have a valid driver’s license before commencing your forklift operation’s course.

If you satisfy these requirements, you can then identify a school to train at.

The institution you pick must be a Registered Training Organization (RTO). Luckily, there are thousands of RTO’s across Australia to choose from.

Training will typically take a few days, depending on how quickly you understand your course material.

Training will take you through theoretical classes on types of forklifts, safety measures, and how they operate. You will also get practical lessons on how to drive, lift loads and inspect a forklift.

License Assessment

Once you successfully go through your training, the next step will be taking a practical and written exam.

If you pass this exam, you can then apply to get your forklift operator’s license.

These licenses are divided into two classifications.

The order picking machine license (LO) allows one to use a stock picker/ load shifting order picker forklifts.

A forklift license (LF), on the other hand, allows you to operate all forklift trucks, aside from those with an LO classification. These include all-terrain, side loading, counterbalance and truck-mounted forklifts.

Post-training, you can apply for one or both licenses.

You will find that while the training is similar to that offered in other countries, the licensing procedures in Australia differ from those in other places.

In most countries, the training institution will issue licenses to its students after successful training. In Australia, the different governing authorities do. Each state has its own governing authority to regulate its licensing processes.

It’s Considered High-Risk Work

Australia classified forklift operations as high-risk work (HRW) in September 2010, mainly to protect professionals in this field from the dangers surrounding heavy equipment operation.

This makes a High-Risk Work license (HRW) essential, aside from the operating license.

Again, each territory has its own authority that aligns HRW licensure to its health and safety enforcement regulations.

Safety is Key

Your forklift training and employer’s induction will include some safety training. Pay close attention to this.

Working with heavy machinery always comes with a level of risk, the bulk of which can be mitigated by following outlined safety standards.

Again, you must remain conscious of your environment and strive to stay alert and focused at all times.

Should anything start going wrong, you must remain composed to make the best out of the situation. If you are one to panic during emergencies, this line of work might not be for you.


Forklift operators are highly sought after due to an increase in global trade and growth of industries such as construction. There is a bright future for you if you are looking to get into this profession.

But be open-minded because you will be exposed to other areas of business operations such as logistics, warehousing and shipping. Depending on your tenacity and aptitude, you could find yourself branching out into these areas.

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