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What are forklift trucks

Forklift trucks refer to an industrial lift truck equipped with a vertically elevating load carriage frame.

Horizontal load forks (or a similar lifting mechanism) project from the front of the frame. Forklift trucks can be powered by electric motors or internal combustion engines running on petrol, diesel or LPG fuels.

Forklift trucks are controlled by an onboard operator who must hold a licence. Trainee operators must work under the supervision of an employer-appointed competent, certified forklift operator.

Pedestrian operated forklifts (POFs) are not controlled by an onboard operator. There are some hazards specifically associated with the use of POFs.

What to do before you hire, rent or buy

Check these things before you hire, rent or buy a forklift truck:

  • The design and manufacture of the forklift truck and its associated features meet Australian Standards AS 2359.1 Powered industrial trucks, and a manufacturer's data plate is attached.
  • The data plate states the forklift truck's make, model number, serial number, rated load capacity, mast tilt, maximum lift height, tyre pressure, and gross vehicle weight and steer axle load (or drive axle and steer axle loads).
  • The seating is adjustable, the controls are within easy reach and the operating position is designed to reduce the chance of incurring injury.
  • There are adequate operating controls, warning devices, facilities to minimise noise and vibration, emission control systems and sufficient visibility for safe operation.
  • Attachments such as crane jibs, clamps and work platforms have instructions for use, have additional data plates matched to each specific attachment and mechanically fitted to the forklift that specify limitations of operation while using the attachment.
  • Guards are fitted which comply with the relevant safety standards.
  • The gross mass of the fully laden forklift truck is less than the rated load capacity of the workplace bridgeplate or dockboard.

If you design, manufacture or modify a forklift truck, check the following things carefully:

  • The forklift truck is designed, manufactured or modified by competent persons in accordance with the relevant standard.
  • The forklift truck does not pose a risk to health and safety when used correctly.
  • Tests and examinations conducted throughout design, manufacture or modification processes are documented.
  • Adequate information is provided about the conditions for safe use of the forklift truck.
  • Load charts are revised accordingly where rated load capacity is modified.