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Forklift Driver Training: What You Need To Know

Filed under: Forklift Operators - Safety & Guides

Hyster Driver Training Guide

Today we will be discussing forklift driver training and how it affects your workplace. Driver training is an important part of workplace health and safety that many employers and employees overlook. A forklift is a very powerful and useful tool, but in untrained hands, it can do more harm than good.

What are the risks?

By allowing inexperienced and untrained staff to operate forklifts and machinery in your workplace, you open yourself up to many risks including:

  • Compensation Costs
  • Fines & convictions (WorkSafe)
  • Damage companies reputation
  • Damage of materials, loads, equipment and facilities
  • Injuries to operators and pedestrians
  • Loss of life

Forklifts are extremely powerful machines and it does not take much for damage, injury or loss of life to occur. A forklifts size and weight can be quite misleading as everything is compact and hidden from sight. An average forklift with a 2,500 kg capacity will usually require a 3,000 kg counter balance to enable it to lift a load without tipping.

If you add together the forklift weight, counter balance and load it is carrying, it adds up to a moving object with a total weight of almost 6,000 kg! To give you some perspective an average 2,500 kg forklift weighs around the same as four average family sized cars. This is why it is not hard to believe that even when traveling at low speeds; a forklift can be a dangerous machine when not operated correctly and many unfortunate accidents in Australia occur each year, due to untrained or careless drivers.

Taking one example from many, incidents may occur in some circumstances due to employers allowing employees to operate a forklift without a licence or any previous training. This forces them to learn how to manoeuvre and operate a forklift on the job, which is extremely dangerous and in some cases illegal. In other scenarios; forklift drivers just need a refresher course to get updated on new techniques and to iron out bad habits they may have picked up over the years. A simple refresher course could save you thousands in Workcover costs.

Know What You’re In For

Visit the links below to gather more information concerning your duties and how to comply with them to make your workplace a safer place (Information may vary according to different state requirements).

Forklift Driver Training

It is important for a forklift driver to be fully licensed and qualified to operate a forklift. A forklift licence is not just a piece of plastic; it’s the correct skills and knowledge taught by certified teachers that will ensure the safety and proper manoeuvrability of a forklift within your business.

Completing a driver training course increases three main aspects within your workplace:

  1. Productivity – Familiarisation with the equipment’s capabilities & features enables the operator to complete tasks in the most productive manner.
  2. Efficiency - Training enables the operator to handle & manoeuvre the equipment in the most time conscious & energy conscious manner.
  3. Safety – the operator will be trained to ensure the equipment is being used in the safest fashion and be aware of hazards that may arise so they can take cautionary action to prevent injury.

Another major factor is that forklift driver training enables your forklift drivers to maintain your equipment in the correct manner, ensuring that all the little things are taken care of (e.g. re-filling battery fluid, safety checks, equipment checks and no mistreatment of equipment) which will in turn reduce costs towards servicing and repairing your equipment.

They Are Not All The Same

Not all forklift driving courses are the same. Before enrolling in a course a little research on the company needs to be done to ensure you are getting what you require from the course they offer. Some courses cost more than others for a reason, whether it is a reason that benefits you is what you need to find out prior to enrolling.

Below are a few questions you should ask to make sure you are getting what you need (requirements may vary according to individual states):

  • Are you certified?
  • What specific machinery is the course targeted at?
  • How many years has the program been running?
  • What is your average pass rate?
  • How many people are usually in the course at once? (class size)
  • What is your training environment like? (Try to simulate your own workplace)
  • How much will it cost to resit the test if I fail and when can I do it?

To finish off I will answer a few FAQ’s that you might have:

What are the pre-requisites of getting a forklift licence?

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have a basic understanding of the English Language (verbal & non-verbal).
  • At the test you will need 100 points of identification (e.g. passport, drivers licence, birth certificate, proof of address).

Types of licences: LF or LO?

LF: permits you to operate any forklift (with the exception of an order picker/stock picker forklift).

LO: permits you to ONLY operate an order picker/stock picker forklift.

What is the duration of the course?

Courses can vary according to your needs whether you are completely new to forklifts or just need a refresher course. Courses include:

  • One day forklift course.
  • Two day forklift course.
  • Three day forklift course.

What should I wear to the training course?

It is suggested that you wear clothes that you are comfortable in. It might be a good idea to wear the clothes that you would typically wear within your workplace, so you learn in a similar environment and feel that you will work in the future. Also a requirement is that you wear a closed toe shoes and a high vis safety vest (usually provided) for health and safety reasons.

I am ready to enrol in a forklift driver training course, what should I do?

  • Do your research (online, ask co-workers and other companies).
  • Call up to ask a set of questions (refer to “They Are Not All The Same” section).
  • Book the next course available.

How much can I expect to earn as a forklift operator?

According to forklift operators in Australia earn between $17.20-$22.33 per hour with overtime averaging $27.22-$34.39. Total annual paying starting at $37,274-$49,953. And bonus averaging from $305.21-$1,965.

That concludes our forklift driver training blog for today. I hope everyone has learnt something from today’s blog and can make the next step to making your workplace a safer and more productive place. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

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I am planning to get crane training. May I know from where I can get best training?

Earthmoving Courses
December 20, 2012 - 3:42 pm

I am indian resident I want to for forklift training and job there but i am not having any proof of Australian resident proof no license i am having all indian proof now u tell me what should i do if any solution for me give info    

nahal parvinder
December 21, 2012 - 7:06 pm

Hi there,

Apologies for the late reply.

RE: Crane Training: you could try either NMIT or Transport Driver Training.

Where are you located? I would speak to your nearest training centre and get their advice on what your options are. Let us know if you need a list of training centres in your area.

AAL Admin
January 09, 2013 - 1:48 pm

Nice post.

I am assuming that sneakers and a pair of shorts would be sufficient for forklift training then? I’m working at a winery in hot weather outdoors and shorts would be the go.

Of course, steel caps are required for that job but I wouldn’t have to buy steel caps just for the training would I?

January 24, 2013 - 6:29 pm

Hi Lee,

Any closed-toe shows should be fine for the training, so sneakers should be ok.

We generally recommend work pants whenever operating any type of machinery, as shorts don’t offer any protection for your legs. Probably best to speak to your training provider and employer regarding what clothing is acceptable.

Good luck!

AAL Admin
January 25, 2013 - 11:15 am

hello am from mumbai (INDIA)  am getting a job in canada as a forklift operator i have learned some basics like safety and driving lessons from OSHA website online. so where can i learn to drive forklift near by MUMBAI, i want to have license too of LF. please help am searching online but am not getting it. please give their contact number. thanks

salim matiwala
May 31, 2013 - 2:26 am

Hi Salim,

Unfortunately since we are an Australian company we cannot recommend any forklift trainers in Mumbai. Sorry about that. Best of luck with the training!

AAL Admin
May 31, 2013 - 11:21 am

  I am indian resident I want to for forklift licence I have 5 year experience in Malaysia warehouse all tucks risk track ,pallet truck,  and job there but i am not having any proof of Australian resident proof no license i am having all indian proof now u tell me what should i do if any solution for me give info

January 18, 2014 - 8:05 pm

Hi Mohammed,

You’ll need to complete an Australian Driver Training course to receive an Australian forklift licence. Unfortunately we do not offer driver training anymore, but if you do a search I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone near you who offers forklift training.

Good luck!

AAL Admin
January 24, 2014 - 1:18 pm


I am interested in doing the forklift course. I am female and have had no experience on a forklift. I am curious on weather there are many jobs out there for woman drivers and if so would a company be willing to take on someone with no experience. I am keen to learn and think I would be a great asset to a company. I live in Mandurah WA what is the best company to attain a forklift license around my area.


February 10, 2014 - 12:58 pm

Hi Lisa,

Apologies for the delay in responding to you. We don’t see why there won’t be opportunities for women forklift drivers as long as you complete the relevant training and are a competent driver. It sounds like you have a great attitude so I’m sure many companies would be happy to have you.

If you still haven’t found a location to do your training, contact us on our website contact form and we should be able to point you in the right direction.

All the best!

AAL Admin
March 04, 2014 - 12:15 pm

I am a Mexican trainer and think your bloog is very didactic.
Greetings from Mexicali Mexico.

April 03, 2014 - 11:33 am

Waikite Apiata

Saturday 19th April 2014.

Hi i was browsing on the net, thought ill check out the net for if I can find a Forklift pre-start checklist site, came across Logistic & Material handling Blog.
I have a refresher course coming up, yes Blog was great if not alsum in given me a head start to my refresher course. If pass ill be looking for employment and I know the value of bein a forklift driver, looking after your employee and the customer.
Thankyou Blog    

Waikite Apiata
April 19, 2014 - 9:19 pm

Im from Jamaica I im wondering where I can find
A training class

May 27, 2015 - 5:38 am

Hi Shamarley,

Are you looking for forklift driving courses in Jamaica or Australia?

Unfortunately we do not conduct training courses anymore, however for both locations we recommend you conduct an internet search for courses in your local area.   

AAL Admin
May 27, 2015 - 10:02 am


I have a Fork Lift driver licence issued by RTITB in the UK. Is this valid in Australia or would I need to do another course in Australia or possibly just a test?


September 05, 2015 - 12:01 pm

  Hi, I have a manitou and hyster fork license, does this allow me to drive a linde counterbalace fork lift?

Any information would be very helpful.
Thank you

September 14, 2015 - 8:04 pm

Is it true ( By NSW- Legislations)  that any one can drive a forklift without a license and under the supervision of an other licensed person for training purpose? and if that was true, what is about the people who misused that rule for ever and they drive the forklift anytime under that base ! and why we need to get the license for and loose our money if those people are doing without any effort !

March 30, 2016 - 10:15 pm

    if i have forklift licence then i drive menetou or not ?                     

paramjit singh
May 16, 2016 - 9:01 pm

Yes, forklift safety is indeed an issue of safety for its drivers. It’s always better for a company to hire a professional and an experience forklift operator for getting the job done.                 

Phil Emmerton
June 13, 2016 - 8:23 pm

My son is interested in operating a forklift for his new job but he doesn’t have a license to do so. I will make sure to remind him to check the requirements of our state and enroll in a course if necessary. Thank you for the much needed information. I would hate to see my son be hurt because he doesn’t have the proper safety education!

Luke Yancey
September 02, 2016 - 2:47 am

                      Thank you for this information about forklifts. It is good to learn that forklift operators have to go through driver training. I did not know that during this training, the importance of productivity, efficiency, and safety were learned. Something to consider would be to ensure that the forklift function correctly. Getting regular maintenance on this piece of equipment would be wise.

Jade Brunet
October 22, 2016 - 9:32 am


I’m in the South West of Western Australia. Bunbury more specifically. Could you recommend a forklift training centre near to me.

Thank you.             

October 26, 2016 - 8:18 am

        i live in pikesville,baltimore ,Maryland . i want to have a certificate on forklift operator and the other lift machine. where can i study about this? is there a place to study near REisterstown ?               

Armando De Castro
February 16, 2017 - 3:57 pm

Hi Armando, unfortunately we are located in Australia. You will need to contact local training organisations to find out whether they offer forklift licensing courses.

AAL Admin
February 16, 2017 - 4:03 pm

Wow, I had no idea that so much had to go into getting properly trained to operate a forklift. I guess that it makes sense though, especially considering that a forklift has the potential to cause a lot of damage. I might have to look more into this since I’ve been thinking about picking up a side job for a while now.

Kyle Winters
March 25, 2017 - 9:59 am

                  It makes sense that it would be important to get the right staff to run a fork lift. They can be dangerous to your inventory if not managed properly! It’s a good idea to ensure that employees are properly certified to use them.

Braden Bills
July 20, 2017 - 1:38 am

I simply wanted to write down a quick word to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips and hints you are showing on this site.   

September 08, 2017 - 6:22 pm

                        How long does it take to do a forklift test?

March 03, 2018 - 10:55 am

Hi Amelia, we do not conduct forklift licensing anymore. You will need to contact your closest training institute to find our the length of the licensing course.

AAL Admin
March 05, 2018 - 11:41 am

Your blog was very interesting & easy to understand. Thank you so much sharing that valuable blog.. 

March 07, 2018 - 9:16 pm

Incredible post. Keep it up. Thank you such a great amount for sharing your profitable blog. 

April 20, 2018 - 7:57 pm

That’s really an informative post. I appreciate your skills.
Thanks for sharing.                       

First Access Equipment Inc
May 30, 2018 - 6:21 pm

                      Thanks for the interesting read about training to be a forklift driver. It’s nice to know you can ask the training course’s company to understand if they are certified or how long the program has been running. This sounds important especially if you want to make sure that the training you get will be beneficial to you.

Taylor Bishop
August 14, 2018 - 3:12 am

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