Forklift Safety and Frequently Asked Questions

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Forklift Safety

Forklifts can be seen as a serious hazard: You are less likely to suffer a fatality working in a mine than you are operating a forklift truck in a warehouse ( Most fork lift accidents that occur are preventable by following the British safety standard guidelines.

Forklifts must be in good working order and properly maintained. Completing a forklift safety checklist should be part of every forklift operator’s daily routine. Before starting a shift, all operators should check their forklift is in safe working order, ready to be used and capable of completing the tasks required of it. If any damage or problems with a forklift are identified, they should be immediately tagged and reported to a supervisor – if it is unsafe to operate the forklift with the problem, then it should not be operated.

Do you need a licence to operate a forklift?
In short yes. It is necessary to hold a licence to operate a forklift (Note: a licence is not required to operate a ‘pedestrian forklift’).
However, if the employee is in training a forklift can be operated without a licence if the employee is within sight and sound of a licensed operator at all times. It is not sufficient that there is a licensed operator ‘Somewhere’ on the premises. Someone in training is defined as undergoing and currently enrolled in a training course.

WorkSafe Victoria has instituted a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on the unsafe or illegal use of forklift trucks, dramatically increasing the risk of prosecution for those who cause or tolerate non-compliance with health and safety laws.

This means that any immediate risk or other non-compliance with OHS law associated with the use of forklifts detected by a WorkSafe inspector is expected to be rectified not only in relation to the particular incident but to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.

Can a forklift be driven on the road?
If a forklift has to be driven outside the workplace on a public road, it must be registered with the DVLA and have number plates. In addition to holding a current forklift licence, the operator must also hold a current driver’s licence.

More information:
WorkSafe has produced a forklift safety information pack to assist employers to prevent forklift incidents in the workplace. It focuses on improving forklift traffic management. The pack is FREE and is available by emailing

It can also be downloaded from the following: