How to Get a Forklift license in Australia

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In Australia, operating a forklift requires a high-risk work license (HRWL). HRWLs allow industry professionals to lawfully work with certain equipment like cranes, hoists, rigging and pressure equipment, and of course, forklifts. 

Today, we look at the process involved in obtaining a license to operate a forklift in Australia. So, whether you’re looking to become a forklift operator or a business owner looking to hire forklifts, this article is for you. 

First, let’s look at the requirements. 

Forklift license requirements

HRWL applicants must be: 

  • At least 18 years of age 
  • A resident of Australia

In addition, they must have: 

  • Basic knowledge of the English language 
  • Unique Student Identifier (USI) 
  • Proof of identity

Non-Australian residents can provide a letter of contract from their employers to be eligible. USIs are unique reference numbers provided by the government to all trainees taking vocational courses. 

Applicants must also achieve 100 points of evidence towards their identity before being accepted in an RTO. 

With these requirements secured, you’re ready for the next step — picking what type of license to apply for. 

Two types of forklift license in Australia 

  • Order-Picking Machine (TLILIC2002A LO license)
  • Forklift Truck (TLILIC2001A LF license) 

The classifications are straightforward, LO licenses are provided to professionals who operate order-picking machines while LF licenses are given to those who will be operating forklift trucks. 

If you’re still unsure of what to pick, Registered Training Organisations (RTO) can guide you in picking a license classification that suits you best. 

After you’ve put a finger on what type of forklift license to apply for, it’s time to start the application process. 

Forklift license application process

1. The application process to obtain a license to operate a forklift starts with training. You need to enroll for certified training at your local RTO. 

2. In addition, you will have to pass a written examination and a practical evaluation to be witnessed by a designated trainer and an assessor. 

If you successfully complete the training, the RTO will provide you with the following: 

  • Statement of Attainment
  • Notice of Assessment
  • AS1 Application Form

3. Lastly, you are to fill out the documents and bring them to a participating Australia Post together with the corresponding fees. The post office will accept your application on behalf of WorkCover/WorkSafe. Be prepared as they will have to take your photograph on the spot. 

Lead times usually take up to three weeks. In the meantime, you can use your Notice of Assessment as an interim license should you need to apply for a job or perform any forklift-related work. 

How do you prepare for your forklift license application? 

First, make sure to understand all the necessary requirements. You won’t be eligible to apply for a license to operate a forklift if you fail to provide the necessary prerequisites. In some states and territories, applicants are required to present a valid driver’s license as some forklifts can be driven on public roads. 

Next, is to prepare for training. As we’ve briefly covered above, a license training usually has two parts: classroom and practical training. 

Classroom training is where you learn things like how to operate the forklift and use it to carry the intended cargo. As it typically deals with theoretical knowledge, classroom training usually takes only several hours. 

On the other hand, practical training is where you display the theories you’ve learned in the classroom. It’s where you display confidence and the skills you’ve acquired in driving the actual truck. 

Lastly, you have to put everything you’ve learned into practice through the assessments, both written and practical evaluation. 

Forklift license application costs 

The costs of applying for a license to drive a forklift usually depend on two things: your skill level and the rates of the training organisation. 

A one-day forklift course, taken by those who have some experience in operating a forklift will usually be lower compared to a two-day course designed for applicants with no experience with forklifts at all. 

Final words

Like most licenses, like the one for operating forklifts, has expiration dates. It will remain valid for five years, after which, it must be renewed. Professionals are not allowed to carry out relevant tasks until the license is renewed. 

In addition, an HRWL license is recognised in all Australian states and territories — as long as the license is valid. 

Obtaining a license to professionally drive and operate a forklift can be hard, but it’s not impossible. By following the tips we provided, we’re sure you can get your license in no time.