It is important for high risk work environments to employ people that have the right qualifications, skills and knowledge. Operating a forklift is classified as high risk work. In the hands of untrained operators, forklifts can inadvertently create dangerous workplace circumstances. Employing competent workers, who hold high risk work licences is essential to improve work safety, meet compliance with Work Safe and OH&S requirements and enhance productivity.
Work Safe Australia states:
"A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must not direct or allow a worker to carry out high risk work for which a high risk work licence is required unless the person sees written evidence provided by the worker that the worker has the relevant high risk work licence for that work."
Training to obtain a high risk work licence must be undertaken with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
By successfully obtaining a high risk forklift licence, workers develop the skills required to keep themselves and others out of danger at the workplace. These skills will allow for safer operation of forklifts, simplified identification of potential hazards, and the use of effective control measures. Employers in the meantime can rest assured knowing all their operators are trained and qualified.
In addition to improved workplace safety, completing a forklift training course increases productivity and efficiency. Being familiar with a forklift's features and capabilities prior to commencing work will allow operators to complete tasks in a more productive manner. Furthermore, operators will already be familiar with pre and post operational checks, identifying potential defects and damage on the forklift. This is likely to result in reduced costs and an overall more efficient operation.
Hiring qualified operators is not always enough. To ensure workplace safety is always at the forefront, managers and supervisors should provide site and equipment specific training to maintain and enhance operators' skills. Regular refresher training is also recommended.
WorkCover NSW suggests that a person wishing to be assessed for operation of a forklift must have attained the age of 18. The licence to perform high risk work is valid in every Australian state and territory.
Information for this article was sourced from Safe Work Australia and WorkCover NSW.
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