Forklift licence – Which one will you need?


From agriculture to manufacturing, and a number of other vital industries, forklifts are an essential piece of equipment that forms the cornerstone of many businesses. They play a vital role in the smooth running of operations by enabling the quick and efficient movement of heavy loads. Without forklifts, quite simply, many businesses would grind to a halt.

In order to ensure the safe and appropriate use of this vital piece of equipment, it’s important that you have an understanding of which licence you will need and how it fits into your everyday operations.

Here at Forkserve with over 40 years of experience in the industry, we’re committed to ensuring forklifts are operating to their potential and to the highest safety standards. We’ve put together this blog to provide further information on Forklift licences and help our clients find which licence will be the best fit for their operations. 

Prerequisites to Obtaining a Forklift Licence

In Australia to be eligible to get your forklift licence there are some prerequisites that must be met. These include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Can use English at a level that enables the safe performance of high-risk work (both verbal & non-verbal)
  • At the examination you will need to prove several points of identification (i.e. Birth certificate, passport, drivers licence etc)

How Do You Get a Forklift Licence?

In order to get a forklift licence, you will need to undertake a mandatory training course with a registered training organisation (RTO). 

Once you have completed this course, you will then be required to pass both a practical and theoretical assessment showing that you are competent with the efficient and safe operation of a forklift.

If you are found competent you can then take the relevant documentation along with forms of ID to your nearest Australia Post and submit your application.

What Types of Forklift Licences are There?

In Australia there are two types of forklift licences available:

Licence Type Details
LF Licence: Forklift Truck Permits you to operate any forklift, with the exception of an order picker/stock picker forklift
LO Licence: Load-Shifting Order-Picker Permits you to only operate an order picker/stock picker forklift

Different licences are required because vehicle types under each category are handled quite differently. With a forklift truck, control is performed from the driver’s seat with a steering wheel. On the other hand, with a Load-Shifting Order-Picker, the operator is required to wear a harness and on occasion may be elevated from the ground.

The type of licence which will be the best fit will depend on the operational needs of your business and the type of work undertaken. 

Which Forklift Licence will be the Right Fit?

When assessing which licence will be the most appropriate for your business, it’s important to have an understanding of the type of forklift each licence covers, and the nature of the associated work. 

LF Class Licence – Forklift Truck

With this type of licence, you are authorised to operate any forklift, except those classified as LO, and there is no restriction on the size of forklift you can use.

The types of forklifts that fall under this category include:

  • Counter balanced forklift truck
  • Side loading forklift truck
  • Reach forklift truck
  • All-terrain forklift truck
  • Truck mounted forklift truck

These types of forklifts have a pair of attached fork arms that can be lifted 900mm or more above ground level. Operation is undertaken from the driver’s seat and steering wheel, and at no point in time is the driver elevated or attached to a harness. This makes them ideal for moving heavy items, or large numbers of items all at once, in a warehouse environment.

LO Licence: Load-Shifting Order-Picker

With this type of licence, you are authorised to operate the following forklifts:

  • Order picking forklift truck or “stock pickers”
  • Turret truck or “very narrow aisle truck”

There are certain specifics involved with this type of forklift. With an order picking forklift truck, the operator’s control is part of the load carriage, meaning the operator lifts with it.

A turret track has the functionality to rotate the forks sideways, making it ideal to store and retrieve pallets in very narrow aisles.

The main difference when compared to an LF type licence, is that with LO classed forklifts, the operator is required to wear a harness at all times, and as part of operations, the operator can be lifted up to 10m into the air with the accompanying load.

With this functionality LO classified forklifts are great to use in warehouses that contain very narrow aisles, or where stock is located on high racks.

Deciding which type of forklift licence you need can be tricky. There are a variety of factors to consider, including the type of forklift you will be operating, the environment in which you will be working, and your company’s specific policies.

An LF Class Licence will allow you to drive more than just one type of vehicle type, and there is no restriction on the size of forklift you can use. These forklifts are commonly used in the delivery of palletised products in a warehouse environment.

With an LO Licence you are authorised to operate more specialised Order picking forklift trucks or Turret trucks, which entail different operational requirements related to the location of the operators control and the ability to rotate forks sideways. These forklifts are great to use in warehouses that contain very narrow aisles, or where stock is located on high racks.

Here at Forkserve, we have over 40 years of experience in the forklift industry. We know the ins and outs of forklift operation and maintenance, and we can advise you on which forklift licence is the best fit for your business. With our vast knowledge and experience and our customised approach, we can help you choose the right forklift for your needs and budget. 

Whether you’re looking for a new forklift or just need some advice on forklift practices, we’re only a phone call away.

For any of your Forklift needs, why not contact us  today?

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