Getting your high-reach forklift licence is an effective way of improving your career as forklift operator in Australia. If you had your LF licence, then, it might be the time to take an LO licence in which high-reach forklift is classified as. It is also a surefire way of getting into the logistics and warehousing industry, as many of these businesses prefer and employ LO licenced operators. Getting LO licence is your best qualification that will give you a competitive edge over other applicants for the job.



What is High Reach Forklift Truck?

high reach forklift licenceThe operational control of the high-reach forklift is different from the ordinary forklift. The worker is raised together with the forks and controls. The worker stands on its platform to reach the required heights and to drive the truck along the aisle to pick up items. The platform serves as a loading stage and worker’s cab. It can lift the operator and loads on a platform and it can reach a maximum lifting height of ten meters. A high-reach forklift operator will be required to wear a fall protection harness at all times.

This type of forklift is very suitable to use in high-density warehouses with tall racking, right spaces and narrow aisles because of its maneuverability and versatility. It is suited to be utilized indoors where floor surfaces are smooth flat and even. It’s electric-powered and it cannot be used outdoors where it can be exposed to environments. The most vital feature of this truck is that it can transport loads and materials at high elevations which an ordinary counterbalance cannot achieve.

High-reach forklift truck comes with many synonymous names such as order picker, cherry picker, stock picker, or order selector.

Significance of a High Reach Forklift Licence in Australia

Explanation of Australian Legal and Regulatory Requirements

In Australia, the operation of high reach forklifts, like all heavy machinery, is governed by stringent rules and regulations. The Safe Work Australia provides a national policy for Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws and is responsible for enforcing these laws. According to the WHS laws, forklift operators need a high-risk work (HRW) licence issued by the state or territory where they primarily operate. For high reach forklifts, the specific licence required is an LF class licence. This requirement is not only to maintain a standard in the industry but also to ensure the safety and well-being of all workers.

Discussion on Safety and Efficiency Benefits

Acquiring a high reach forklift licence is more than just fulfilling a legal requirement. The training and testing involved in the licensing process are designed to ensure that operators can handle these machines safely and efficiently. During the training, operators learn how to manoeuvre the forklift in various scenarios, handle loads properly, conduct routine maintenance, and adhere to safety protocols, thereby significantly reducing the risk of accidents. Furthermore, a well-trained operator is more likely to use the equipment efficiently, leading to increased productivity and less downtime due to equipment misuse or breakdown. Thus, the benefits of a licence extend beyond legal compliance to tangible improvements in safety and operational efficiency.

Consequences of Operating Without a Licence

Operating a high reach forklift without a valid licence is a serious offence in Australia and can lead to severe consequences. These can range from hefty fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence. Unlicensed operation not only endangers the operator but also puts all other employees at risk, potentially causing harm and financial losses due to accidents. Additionally, operating without a licence could expose the employer to liabilities and damage the reputation of the company. Overall, the legal, financial, and safety consequences make it crucial for all operators to obtain and maintain their high reach forklift licence.

Determine What Licence You Need

When taking a forklift training course, you must determine your need as there are two classifications of licence in Australia, namely: LO and LF licences. High-reach forklift is in the classification of LO licence. When you had your LF licence, this licence doesn’t allow you to drive forklifts classified as LO. You need separate training specific only to LO-classified vehicles such as turret trucks, load-shifting order picker trucks and high-reach forklifts.

When you are decided that an LO is the one right for you, I would like to browse the advantages of having high-reach forklift licence.



Advantages of Having High Reach Forklift Licence

  • You can land a job very easily. Forklift operator who has high reach forklift licence (LO) is easily picked by the employer over to those job applicants who have LF licence. You have a competitive advantage in terms of employment.
  • LO licensed operators are highly in demand. Employers prefer to hire individuals with this kind of licence. You can easily find work in the logistics and warehousing industries. Never miss this chance to enter this field of material handling.
  • You will receive a higher wage. Having high-reach forklift licence shows that you are certified and educated in handling this kind of truck. With that competence you’ve attained, the employer will be more willing to offer you better pay.
  • Job promotion. If you foster your knowledge by taking a high-reach forklift training, you will be the right pick for a job promotion. Beat those people eyeing for the same promotion you are targeting.
  • Less job competition. Because there are fewer people who have acquired the skills and experience operating this forklift, there are fewer people applying for the same position.



Duration, Cost & Content of High Reach Forklift Training

The high-reach forklift training can last for up 8 hours. It can be taken in a single day. For absolute beginners, the course can be taken for up two days because the trainees have to be taught extensive knowledge with regard to safety and proper operational procedure.

The cost you will be spending to take high-reach forklift training will be around AU$300. The cost may vary depending on the depth of the course, training materials and the modernity of the training facility. If you want to get government-funded forklift training, click here.

The training covers fundamentals on inventory and record-keeping, principles of the truck’s operational controls, and the physics behind its operation such as stability and balance, the course also covers the proper loading, stacking and retrieval and the truck’s maximum load capacity and limitations. The training will also tackle the issues of preventive maintenance and equipment inspection and battery recharging and checking.

The course will also cover the current government regulations related to forklift operation, the responsibilities of the operators and his designated supervisor and the obligation of the employer to both of them. The course will also include work planning and management.

But the most vital aspect is safety. That is because with the truck’s ability to raise the operator at very high elevation, the most important subject to focus on during the training course is safety. Trainees have to be trained in fall protection and instilling in their minds the use of safety harnesses all times when working with high reach forklift. And in some instances, the trainer will teach safety analysis and risk assessment and reporting to mitigate risk and danger to prevent accidents.

Applying for HRW High Reach Forklift Licence

  1. The best way to earn LO licence is to enroll in a course.  You can take the course from a registered training organization (RTO). There are many RTOs you can find across Australia. We have the list/directory of RTOs in each territory/city, just select the location where you are in the menu.
  2. Once you are enrolled you will be taking the classroom theory/lecture and practical training in compliance with government standards. These two parts are your requirements for earning your high-reach forklift licence.
  3. Once you’ve completed taking the classroom and practical training, an assessment will be administered to measure your knowledge and competency. Usually, the assessment is conducted by a representative of WorkSafe, WorkCover or a local government licencing authority.
  4. When you passed the assessment, you will be issued with a statement of attainment (TLILIC2002A or licence to operate high reach forklift) and notice of assessment (valid for two months).
  5. Forklift driving is considered as high-risk work, and you need an HRW licence to operate a high-reach forklift. To apply for HRW licence, you need to lodge your application. Application for an HRW licence may vary depending on the territory where you will be submitting your application. You can ask your trainer/RTO about the processing.
  6. Once you had your HRW licence, it now has 5-year validity. You need to prove that you’ve maintained your skills and knowledge operating the high-reach forklift when renewing your licence.

Overview of the Australian High Reach Forklift Licensing Process

A. Eligibility Prerequisites

In Australia, applicants must meet a few prerequisites to be eligible for the high reach forklift licence. First, they must be at least 18 years old, which is the legal age to operate heavy machinery. They must also have a basic understanding of English, both spoken and written, as the training and assessment will be conducted in English. In some cases, they may also need to provide certain identification documents.

B. Detailed Walkthrough of the Licensing Process

  1. Application Procedure: The licensing process begins with the candidate enrolling for a training course with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). These RTOs offer the necessary training courses required to obtain a high reach forklift licence. The candidate may need to provide identification and proof of age at the time of enrolment.

  2. Training Sessions: After enrolment, the applicant will participate in a comprehensive training program. The training usually involves both theoretical and practical sessions, covering areas such as safety protocols, operational knowledge, understanding of load charts, and practical operation of the forklift. The duration of the training can vary depending on the RTO and the applicant's previous experience.

  3. Theory and Practical Examinations: Upon completion of the training, the applicant will have to pass both a written and a practical test. The written test typically covers safety guidelines, operational procedures, and other knowledge areas covered during the training. The practical test involves demonstrating competence in operating a high reach forklift safely and efficiently. Successful completion of these tests is required to obtain the licence.

C. Approximate Costs Associated with Licence Acquisition

The cost of obtaining a high-reach forklift licence in Australia can vary depending on a number of factors such as the RTO, the region, and whether any additional training is needed. This generally includes the cost of the training course, materials, and the application fee for the licence. It is recommended that applicants check with local RTOs for the most accurate and up-to-date costs.



An Insight into High Reach Forklift Operation Training

A. Importance of Comprehensive Training

Comprehensive training is crucial for these forklift operations due to the unique demands and risks associated with these machines. High-reach forklifts are complex, heavy machines that require skill, precision, and understanding to operate safely and effectively. Training ensures operators have the necessary competence and confidence to handle these machines, leading to safer work environments and increased operational efficiency.

B. Breakdown of Subjects Addressed in the Training

  1. Operation of Forklifts and Safety Protocols: Trainees are taught the fundamentals of operating this type of forklifts, including understanding the controls, operating procedures, and maneuvering techniques. Safety protocols, such as correct load handling, stability principles, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment (PPE), are heavily emphasized throughout the training.

  2. Regular Maintenance and Problem-Solving: Maintenance is a key part of ensuring the forklift's long-term performance. Trainees learn basic preventative maintenance, including pre-operational checks and inspections. The training also includes problem-solving skills to troubleshoot common issues that may arise during operation.

  3. Guidance on Operating in Various Work Conditions: As forklifts are used in a variety of environments, from warehouses to construction sites, operators are trained to adapt to different work conditions. This includes handling variations in surfaces and gradients, understanding the impact of weather conditions on operation, and navigating through narrow or crowded spaces.

C. Comparison of Standard Forklift Training and High Reach Training

While standard forklift training covers the basics of forklift operation, this forklift training delves deeper into the specific skills needed for these machines. Due to the added complexities and risks of operating at height, this training places extra emphasis on stability and load handling at elevations. Additionally, trainees are taught more advanced maneuvering techniques and problem-solving skills relevant to operations. These forklifts also have specific maintenance needs and safety considerations that are covered in depth in their respective training, making them more comprehensive and specialized compared to standard forklift training.



HRW Licence Renewal

If you are a current high-reach forklift licence holder, generally, you will receive notice 4-6 weeks before the licence expiration. The notice will be sent to the mailing address you indicated in the application form when you first applied for it.

You need to submit the unsigned renewal notice, you will sign it in the Australian Post where you will submit it together with 100 points of proof of identity, a recent passport-size photo of the applicant, and the renewal fee. The renewal process varies depending on the territory where you are in Australia.

Additional Aspects for High-Reach Forklift Operators

A. Importance of Continuous Learning and Skills Improvement

Even after receiving a forklift licence, operators should focus on continuous learning and skills improvement. This is because industry practices, safety standards, and equipment technology can change over time. Regularly updating skills through refresher courses or additional training can help operators stay current, increase efficiency, and reduce the risk of accidents. It's also beneficial for operators to learn from peers and experienced forklift operators, fostering a culture of safety and knowledge sharing in the workplace.

B. Awareness of Employer Responsibilities

Forklift operators should be aware of their employer's responsibilities to ensure their rights and safety are upheld. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment, which includes maintaining forklifts properly, providing necessary safety equipment, and ensuring that all operators are appropriately trained and licenced. Employers are also required to report any accidents or incidents and provide support in case of injuries at work. Understanding these responsibilities can help operators identify and address any shortcomings in their workplace's safety culture.

C. Role of the Safe Work Australia in Forklift Operation

Safe Work Australia plays a crucial role in regulating and promoting safe forklift operations in the country. As the national policy body for WHS and workers' compensation, it develops and evaluates WHS and workers’ compensation policies and laws. For forklift operations, Safe Work Australia provides comprehensive guidelines and resources covering a range of topics, including forklift safety, licencing requirements, and risk management. It also collects data on work-related injuries and fatalities to inform its policies and initiatives. Forklift operators can utilize Safe Work Australia's resources to better understand and fulfill their safety responsibilities.



Case Study: Positive Outcomes of Proper Licensing and Training

A. Real-Life Examples of Companies Benefiting from Having Licensed Operators

One example of a company benefiting from having licensed operators is the Australian logistics company, 'XXX Pty Ltd'. After investing in comprehensive training and ensuring all their forklift operators were licensed, they saw a 25% increase in efficiency and a significant decrease in equipment-related downtime. Additionally, they reported improved staff morale as employees felt safer and more confident in their roles.

B. Safety Statistics: Comparing Licensed vs Unlicensed Operators

According to a study by Safe Work Australia, workplaces with fully licensed operators reported nearly 50% fewer forklift-related accidents than those with unlicensed or inadequately trained operators. Licensed operators were also found to be more efficient, leading to fewer errors and reduced damage to goods and equipment. This not only demonstrates the safety benefits of licensing but also its positive impact on operational efficiency and cost savings.

C. Influence on Insurance Policies and Liability

Ensuring that forklift operators are appropriately licensed can also have a significant impact on a company's insurance policies and liability. Insurance providers often offer lower premiums to companies that adhere to safety standards, including having all operators licensed. Furthermore, in case of an accident, having licensed operators can limit a company's liability, as it shows that the company has taken reasonable steps to ensure safety. In one high-profile case, 'BuildIt Construction', an Australian construction firm, successfully defended a lawsuit related to a forklift accident, largely because they were able to demonstrate that the operator involved was fully trained and licenced.



To Conclude This

Acquiring a high-reach forklift licence in Australia is an indispensable step for any individual aiming to operate these machines. It's not only a legal requirement but also a crucial aspect of ensuring workplace safety and efficiency. The process involves meeting certain eligibility criteria, undergoing comprehensive training, and passing theory and practical examinations. While this might seem demanding, the benefits, including improved safety records, greater operational efficiency, and reduced insurance premiums, are certainly worth the investment.

The responsibility for safety and compliance does not end with obtaining the licence. Operators need to engage in continuous learning and skill improvement to stay abreast of changing industry practices and technological advancements. Employers, too, have a critical role to play in providing a safe work environment and ensuring all operators are adequately trained and licenced.

Safe Work Australia, as the national policy body, provides valuable resources and guidelines that should be consulted by both operators and employers to ensure they are meeting their respective safety responsibilities. Ultimately, a culture of safety, continuous learning, and legal compliance, fostered by proper licensing and training, will help Australia's industries maximize the benefits of using this type of forklifts while minimizing the associated risks.

Remember, operating a high-reach forklift is a skill that holds great responsibility. Safety should always be the highest priority, not just for the operator, but for everyone in the work environment. As a forklift operator, ensuring you have the proper licence is your contribution to that safety.