Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2015 Contents Should forklift training be conducted for a
set number of days or hours per week?
There is no set standard, and the length
of training varies significantly from one organisa-
tion to another.
Australia needs a consistent standard for the
training of forklift operators. Is a one-day training
course too short and a 5-day course too long?
Would industry pay $1,000 for a 5-day forklift
course, and if so, what about unemployed
persons’ ability to pay? How many students
should be in a forklift course?
Every state and territory has examples
where plant licences for all types of equipment
have been bought at the local pub or issued
by ‘dodgy brothers’. Most of these providers
have been caught and deregistered. There
must be a balance in the discussion as to
what is a fair price for a set timeframe for a
course for new operators.
A forklift licence course is competency-
based. It is the role of a qualified trainer and
licence assessor to determine a person’s
readiness for assessment before the actual
assessment takes place. This national
assessment will determine whether the student
is competent or not yet competent. This is a
Currently, the nominal, not mandatory,
hours for training for a forklift licence are 40
supervised hours. This is a number set by the
vocational sector for funding purposes, but it
is now used by some trainers and assessors as
being the standard requirement. This begs the
question: What if a person has significant expe-
rience driving forklifts in another country? Do
they need to complete 40 supervised hours?
Some people have natural skills and
co-ordination while others may not even have a
driver’s licence and therefore no driving-related
skills at all. Do both categories need to complete
a full 40 hours of supervised training?
There is a recommended Recognition of Prior
Learning (RPL) process to issue a licence, but
many students complain that the gathering
of the required evidence is time-consuming
and onerous, making this a complex process
for them. They often prefer to undertake a
streamlined forklift course.
Apart from the length of the course, some
further questions arise regarding the delivery
of the theory training required as part of the
assessment for the national licence. If someone
sits in a classroom for a full day with study
notes, does it ensure that the person under-
stands the information and could apply it in a
workplace? Would this process present a barrier
to students who have English as a second
language? Could online learning be a solution?
Further questions relate to the language used
in the mandatory national assessment written
segment. Many students and those working in
this industry sector do not relate to some of the
more academic language used. For instance,
one of the questions uses the words “forklift
lateral instability”. Most people in this industry,
and the students training to work in this
industry, would have a better understanding if
the words “forklift tipping over” were used.
Under the present forklift training and assess-
ment system, once a student has successfully
acquired the required competency, he/she is
legally permitted to work anywhere in Australia.
However, while the person may possess a licence,
it does not mean that they are experienced or
highly-confident drivers who could undertake
the most complex manoeuvres. Many managers
agree that a newly qualified and licenced forklift
operator may be somewhat unsure of the work-
place he or she is required to work in.
As a forklift weighs two or more tonnes plus the
load, they can be a lethal weapon or cause signifi-
cant damage in a facility if not correctly used. Site
inductions must include familiarisations with the
area they work and the forklift/s that they are using.
This process does not always happen. Every
year, approximately 100,000 forklift licences are
issued by government throughout Australia.
One solution to consider
Industry, unions and government authorities
need to consider introducing a ‘P’ plate system
for the first twelve (12) months after a person
becomes a licenced forklift operator. This would
indicate that the person is trained and licenced
but may need some interim supervision, until
confidence and experience builds. After the 12
month timeframe the operator then moves to an
open or unrestricted forklift licence.
If you have a comment about this
topic, please send an email to Bill at the
Australian Warehousing Association at
IS THIS A POSSIBILITY?
P-PLATES FOR NEW
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MAY / JUNE 2015
MATERIALS HANDLING AND MANAGEMENT
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