Operate a forklift

This unit involves the skills and knowledge required to operate a forklift, including checking forklift condition, driving the forklift to fulfil operational requirements, monitoring site conditions, and monitoring and maintaining forklift performance. Assessment of this unit will usually be undertaken within a licensing examination conducted by, or under the authority of, the relevant state/territory OH&S authority.


Operation of a forklift must be carried out in compliance with the licence requirements and regulations of the relevant state/territory authority.

Operation of a forklift is performed under some supervision, generally within a team environment. It involves the application of routine equipment operation principles and procedures to maintain the safety and operation of a forklift in a variety of operational contexts.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria


Check forklift condition


Condition of forklift is checked for compliance with OH&S and workplace requirements for warning devices, manufacturers specifications and the nature of the load shifting task


Attachments are checked to ensure appropriate adjustment and operation


Mirrors and seats are adjusted for safe operation by the driver


Log books are checked and appropriate workplace documentation is completed in accordance with workplace requirements


Drive the forklift


Forklift is started, steered, manoeuvred, positioned and stopped in accordance with regulations and manufacturers instructions


Engine power is managed to ensure efficiency and performance and to minimise engine and gear damage


Operational hazards are identified and/or anticipated and avoided or controlled through defensive driving and appropriate hazard control techniques


Forklift is driven in reverse, maintaining visibility and achieving accurate positioning


The forklift is parked, shut down and secured in accordance with manufacturers specifications, regulations and workplace procedures


Operate a forklift to handle loads


The lifting task to be undertaken is appropriately planned and the correct lifting truck and attachments are selected


The load is lifted, carried, lowered and set down in accordance with OH&S legislation, manufacturers specifications and company procedures


Monitor site conditions


When selecting the most efficient route, hazards and traffic flow are identified and appropriate adjustments are made


Site conditions are assessed to enable safe operations and to ensure no injury to people or damage to property, equipment, loads or facilities occurs


Monitor and maintain forklift performance


Performance and efficiency of vehicle operation is monitored during use


Defective/irregular performance and malfunctions reported to relevant personnel


Forklift records are maintained/updated in accordance with workplace procedures and legislative requirements

Required Skills


This describes the essential knowledge and skills and their level required for this unit.

Required knowledge:

Relevant duty of care requirements pertaining to the operation of a forklift

Relevant OH&S and environmental procedures and regulations

Workplace operating procedures

Forklift controls, instruments and indicators and their use

Forklift handling procedures

Procedures to be followed in the event of an operational emergency

Engine power management and safe operating strategies

Efficient driving techniques

Operating hazards and related defensive driving and hazard control techniques

Pre-operational checks carried out on forklift and related action

Principles of stress management when driving a forklift

Site layout and obstacles

Required skills:

Communicate effectively with others when operating a forklift

Read and interpret instructions, procedures, information and signs relevant to the operation of a forklift

Interpret and follow operational instructions and prioritise work

Complete documentation related to the operation of a forklift

Operate electronic communication equipment to required protocol

Work collaboratively with others when operating a forklift

Adapt appropriately to cultural differences in the workplace, including modes of behaviour and interactions with others

Promptly report and/or rectify any identified problems, faults or malfunctions in accordance with regulatory requirements and workplace procedures

Implement contingency plans for unexpected events when operating a forklift

Apply precautions and required action to minimise, control or eliminate hazards that may exist during the operation of a forklift

Monitor work activities in terms of planned schedule

Modify activities depending on differing operational contingencies, risk situations and environments

Apply fatigue management knowledge and techniques

Work systematically with required attention to detail without injury to self or others, or damage to goods or equipment

Operate and adapt to differences in equipment in accordance with standard operating procedures

Select and use required personal protective equipment conforming to industry and OH&S standards

Identify points of balance and safe lifting positions on a range of loads when operating a forklift (including accessories)

Monitor performance of forklift and its equipment and take appropriate action where required

Ensure that a forklift and its equipment are maintained in terms of service schedule and standard operating procedures

Check and replenish fluids and carry out lubrication processes in the course of work activities

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required knowledge and skills, the range statement and the assessment guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the elements and performance criteria of this unit and include demonstration of applying:

the underpinning knowledge and skills

relevant legislation and workplace procedures

other relevant aspects of the range statement

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Performance is demonstrated consistently over a period of time and in a suitable range of contexts

Resources for assessment include:

a range of relevant exercises, case studies and other simulated practical and knowledge assessment, and/or

access to an appropriate range of relevant operational situations in the workplace

In both real and simulated environments, access is required to:

relevant and appropriate materials and/or equipment, and/or

applicable documentation including workplace procedures, regulations, codes of practice and operation manuals

Method of assessment

Assessment of this unit must be undertaken by a registered training organisation

As a minimum, assessment of knowledge must be conducted through appropriate written/oral tests

Practical assessment must occur:

through appropriately simulated activities at the registered training organisation, and/or

in an appropriate range of situations in the workplace

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance.

Types of forklift may include:

counterbalance trucks

reach trucks

pallet trucks

Operations may be carried out in typical forklift operational situations, including:

operations conducted at day or night

typical weather conditions

on the open road

on a private road or worksite

while at a workplace

Customers may be:

internal or external

Workplaces may comprise:

large, medium or small worksites

Work may be conducted in:

restricted spaces

exposed conditions

controlled or open environments

Loads to be shifted may require:

special precautions

Loads to be shifted may be:

irregularly shaped

packaged or unpackaged

labelled or unlabelled

palleted or unpalleted

Hazards in the work area may include exposure to:


dangerous or hazardous substances

movements of equipment, goods and materials

Personnel in the work area may include:

workplace personnel

site visitors


official representatives

Forklift handling procedures may include:

starting a forklift

steering and manoeuvring a forklift

accelerating and braking

positioning and stopping a forklift

reversing a forklift

operating forklift controls, instruments and indicators

using defensive driving techniques

managing engine performance

Pre-operational checks may include:

visual check of forklift

checking and topping up of fluid levels

checks of tyres

checks of operation of forklift lights and indicators

checks of brakes

Hazards may include (examples only):

wet and iced operating surfaces

oil on operating surface

faulty brakes

workplace obstacles and other operational equipment and vehicles

damaged loads and pallets

other personnel in work area

Depending on the type of organisation concerned and the local terminology used, workplace procedures may include:

company procedures

enterprise procedures

organisational procedures

established procedures

Personal protection equipment may include:


safety headwear and footwear

safety glasses

two-way radios

high visibility clothing

Information/documents may include:

goods identification numbers and codes, including IMDG markings and HAZCHEM signs

manifests, bar codes, picking slips, merchandise transfers, stock requisitions, goods and container identification

Australian Standard 2359 - Industrial Truck Code

manufacturers specifications for forklift and associated equipment

operations and service record book or log

workplace procedures and policies for the operation of forklifts

supplier and/or client instructions

ADG Code and material safety data sheets

regulatory requirements concerning the use of forklifts

award, enterprise bargaining agreement, other industrial arrangements

standards and certification requirements

quality assurance procedures

emergency procedures

Applicable procedures and codes may include:

relevant state/territory regulations pertaining to the operation of forklifts

relevant codes and standards, including Australian Standard 2359 - Industrial Truck Code

relevant state/territory OH&S legislation

relevant state/territory fatigue management regulations

relevant state/territory environmental protection legislation


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

The required outcomes described in this unit of competency contain applicable facets of Employability Skills. The Employability Skills Summary of the qualification in which this competency is packaged will assist in identifying employability skill requirements.

Licensing Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor