• John Easton
    We are a large private manufacturing company and get many requests for process workers to get a forklift licence(operators certificate). Our general rule of thumb is that if you want to become a forklift driver you should have a full driving licence.

    Does anyone else have this sort of rule in place?

    The logic is that if you have a full driving licence then you are more likely to have experience in understand road conditions/rules, situational awareness, hazards and risks, etc.

    It is my understanding that to get an Forklift Operators Certificate/Licence you do not need to have any previous driving experience or driving licence.
    Note that I am aware that for F endorsement you need to have a full licence.


  • Steve H
    You are correct John, if they are not operating an FL on a public road, public place or area where there is pedestrian access, they don't need an "F" endorsement or a full license. But it's hard to envisage a workplace that wouldn't have some form of pedestrian access.
  • Darren CottinghamAccepted Answer
    You don't need a full driving licence for an operator's certificate, and driving a car isn't like driving a forklift. You could equally argue that forklift drivers should have had experience of playing computer games because that gives you manual dexterity, quick reactions and spatial awareness.
    Everything the drivers need to know about safe operation in a closed environment should be taught in an operator's certificate course. Many of the people we train don't have driver's licences - we haven't had any feedback from clients that indicates this disadvantages the drivers. If you have good pedestrian separation, you're using some kind of warning technology, the forklifts are speed limited and in good condition, and you regularly refresh their training and talk about the hazards, you're doing what you need to. Under the HSWA it's up to the PCBU to ensure that the driver is operating proficiently on a day-to-day basis; if you give them enough practice on the machine and good supervision, they'll reach the required standard.
  • Andrew
    We have 2 approaches. If we need a forklift operator to work in the yard (which we deem to be a public place due to gates being open and the place open for people to walk into) then we require an F Endorsement of the Drivers Licence.

    If the Operator is only going to be inside the building then the Operators Certificate is the only thing required. Certificate also apples to those operating outside with the F Endorsement..

    Logic doesn't really apply. You only sit your drivers licence once. And you only do your F endorsement once. Its always seemed a bit odd to me that that is our open road rule. But for workplaces we have decided that the Forklift Certificate should be renewed every three years - even if our operators are using the Forklift on a daily basis.

    Then I remind myself that the Forklift Certificate isn't mandatory. And that there is probably some very good coin to be made by training providers putting their own 3 year cash churn limit on it.
  • Steve H
    hen I remind myself that the Forklift Certificate isn't mandatory. And that there is probably some very good coin to be made by training providers putting their own 3 year cash churn limit on it.Andrew

    Surely not Andrew :lol:
  • Don Ramsay
    Remember that in the background there is a licence review of which forklifts are included. I was involved with some of the conversations and the basic premise of the proposal is that plant including forklifts generally do not get driven on the road. So the thought was that the worker should hold the appropriate vehicle class licence relative to the weights and that the provision of road/warehouse be removed.

    The offshoot is that they are looking to remove the endorsements and the operator course would cover all the required aspects of handling forklifts, so in short, there may come a time where a licence may be required.

    During the conversations, it was also discussed what do you do with all the workers that do not hold a licence for various reasons?
  • Andrew

    I know. Hard to believe eh!. There's even a provider who will, for $150 - $300 provide you with "WorkSafe NZ Certification". Every day the Health and Safety Gravy Train gets longer.
  • Steve H
    There's even a provider who will, for $150 - $300 provide you with "WorkSafe NZ Certification".Andrew

    Yes, I didn't know that WorkSafe provided product and service endorsements, but if you see it on the internet, it must be true
  • Andrew

    They do. And heres the proof! t6pzd690ud27o5b4.jpg
  • Darren Cottingham
    You are correct that the forklift operator's certificate isn't mandatory, however, it is the suggestion in the Approved Code of Practice as the minimum time between refresher courses. The HSWA says that you should follow the ACOP or do it in a way that meets or exceeds that standard. So, if you have your own internal training processes or something that is the equivalent of a refresher, then you don't need the operator's cert, but if you don't, then the minimum would be doing a refresher.
  • Andrew

    Just as a point of clarity the ACOP is anInstructor code, not an operator code. "Instructor registration is valid for a three-year period"
    And under the ACOP reference instructors should get a refresher every 3 years

    "These certificates to be valid for a period of three years, after which instructors should attend a period of refresher training and be re-examined to ensure that they are sufficiently competent to remain registered. Experience has shown that candidates who have had minimal opportunity to practise their instruction skills stand little chance of achieving the standard required to be re-registered by accrediting bodies."

    There is an argument that a newbie that has never used a forklift before should be trained and certified by an approved and certified "trainer"

    But if we look at the Safety Code ( a low level document I know) they reckon a person is fit for the job of being a forklift operator if they have been properly trained and "have read and understood the booklet especially the simple rules for safety". The emphasis seems to be on understanding the simple rules of safety.

    So my choice is: do I want a certified trainer running a generic course on a generic forklift with generic hazards. Or an internal person training on our forklift with our hazards. The ACOP even gives an internal person a Theory Test set of questions / answers. Get 80% and you are good to go.
  • Darren Cottingham

    P23 and P49 of the ACOP refers to trainees, not instructors. Clause 7 says it's recommended that retraining be undertaken every three years... P50 gives a sample certificate with the same wording.
    You are correct that the ACOP also says that trainers should be recertified every 3 years, but it talks about trainees in 3 places in relation to this, not trainers.
    Your final paragraph is spot on: our opinion is that it's best to do a theory refresher online and then do practical assessment and training in the workplace on the forklift they would usually use, lifting the loads they would usually lift, adhering to the SOPs, etc, that are relevant in their workplace - that's why we give the tools to help a supervisor conduct the practical assessment as part of our online course.
    Our other opinion is that getting 80% correct when you're dealing with a machine that can cripple or kill is not the optimal solution. We insist on 100% correct.
  • Andrew

    Pg 23 (which is in the section describing Training Programs) is interesting. Why would a person using a forklift every day need to be "retrained". Do B Train truck drivers need to be "retrained every 3 years. Do nurses need to be 'retrained every 3 years. I am struggling to think of any occupation or job that needs to be retrained every three years. I just sniff the self interest of the industry representatives who helped develop this ACOP.

    Notice how the word "recommendation " has morphed into "expired" . My Operators certificates now read "Date of Expiry" - no such thing on the Page 50 example.

    And I agree. 100% is the standard!
  • Darren Cottingham
    If you see the standard of some of the forklift drivers we see, you'll understand why they need to be retrained. Some companies have only a few drivers and the supervisor or owner doesn't necessarily know best practice. Bad habits creep in. Opinions about what is 'right' vary wildly. The same logic applies to general driving on the road - how many people drive like they're in a driving exam?
    In the UK, professional truck drivers have to do 40 hours of CPC every 5 years, so I do think that a B train driver should have at least a refresher of the road rules and perhaps logbook rules (a couple of thousand logbook infringements are given every year - https://www.drivingtests.co.nz/resources/logbook-work-time-offences/)
    If you have a D endorsement in NZ, you have to refresh that every 5 years.
    Using your example of nursing, 5% of practising nurses have to complete a recertification every year. Pilots have regular sim tests. I reckon there would be many industries with continuing professional education or refreshers that are either mandated or recommended.
  • Steve H
    If you see the standard of some of the forklift drivers we see, you'll understand why they need to be retrained. Some companies have only a few drivers and the supervisor or owner doesn't necessarily know best practice.Darren Cottingham

    That would be fine if they were getting "retrained", or indeed had been trained in the first place, but with some courses, it's the tick and flick accompanied by CU in three years. What would be of benefit, would be an independent examiner, same as Driver License. Student FL driver attends your course and then gets tested by someone else.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    This discussion brings to mind a very important and usually overlooked point. The requirement is almost always training / refresher training, not competence.

    Training is only an input, not a guarantee of results (an analogy: an investment of your hard-earned money may or may not result in making a profit!). Training is only one of a suite of learning and development tools available to address performance.

    We should be starting with a proper learning needs analysis, which should identify specific behaviours and measurable performance factors required of forklift operators - i.e., what specific skills or competencies do operators require, and how will you verify these?

    Next, we need to ask what information people don't know already and need to know to be able to do their job. The solution for this is to provide training.

    If people know what they are supposed to do but don't perform according to the required standard, we need to determine whether they just need more practice, or they need coaching to overcome some obstacles. If a person already knows what they need to know but don't get opportunities to practice, or are hindered by attitudes, assumptions, etc, it is pointless to send them to a training course thinking that anything will change.

    Likewise, it is a terrible waste of time and money to send people who already know what they need to know and are already doing the work all the time to a suitable level of performance to training courses!

    If we developed a robust competency framework, including performance standards, why couldn't people just be assessed periodically against a standard to verify continued competency???

    A well-formed competency assessment would serve as a reminder anyway, and anyone who doesn't meet the required standards could then be reviewed to determine whether they need practice, coaching or a refresher.

    But of course, there are a lot of agencies with a vested interest in continuing to require the full training.....

    Most standard courses seem to follow a standard format based on very low level competency requirements such as being able to regurgitate facts without any verification of genuine understanding or application of what they are meant to know. That's because most training on Unit Standards is largely assessed by exam questions that are primarily designed to assure the person passes the assessment and gets their certificate so the training provider gets their money. I once attended a training where the "trainer" basically stood at the front and told us which section of the training notes to read next, section by section - no explanation or discussion. Then we did a short written assessment - a set of simple multiple choice questions. Then we each took the EWP up and down once, then we were signed off.

    So just like they say about the computer, GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out. Training that is put together and delivered by providers with little grasp of neuroscience and principles of learning and instructional design usually misses the mark on delivering genuine competence. Just because you have some technical "expertise" and experience doesn't necessarily result in useful learning outcomes.

    Poorly designed training, put together without appropriately relevant learning objectives and outcomes, repeated periodically - it is just wrong on so many levels - wasting everyone's time, money, attention, good will, etc.

    Check out Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning [url=http:// https://tips.uark.edu/using-blooms-taxonomy/]https://tips.uark.edu/using-blooms-taxonomy/[/url] for better descriptions of levels of competency, and we really are overdue for doing some in-depth review and updates of this framework.

    Also, on a bit of a side note, please avoid the temptation to regurgitate all the training content in your workplace forklift operational procedures - it creates unnecessary clutter when you already have a policy of limiting operation to trained and certified operators!!
  • Sheri Greenwell
    PS - If there are updates or substantial changes in theory and practice (as often happens with first aid practices), then there is a case for requiring everyone to have training on those updates.
  • Robb
    Do B Train truck drivers need to be "retrained every 3 years. Do nurses need to be 'retrained every 3 years.Andrew

    Hey Andrew,
    ***says the following with tongue firmly placed against cheek***
    Maybe if B train drivers got retrained every 3 years, they would not be overly represented in road deaths?

    ***Remove tongue from cheek***
    Nurses, like most healthcare workers, require continuous training to maintain their registration
  • Steve H
    In New Zealand, Registered electrical workers, Electricians, Electrical Service Technicians, Electrical Appliance Serviceperson etc are all required to complete a biannual Electrical Refresher and First Aid Refresher.

    This has been in place since the mid 1990's, at each one I've done since then, I've asked one question, "what has been the reduction in numbers of qualified electrical workers killed or injured in electrical incidents in the last 24 months?" Like the overall workplace death rate, it hasn't changed.

    That said, the three most lethal items of equipment to be found in many workplaces are forklifts, motor vehicles , and angle grinders, so I favour better training and independent testing for forklift operators, defensive driving courses for all drivers of company vehicles and where possible, removal or restrictions on size and use of AGs, along with their competent test and tag.
  • Darren Cottingham
    Motor vehicles are by far the most dangerous workplace equipment. Something like 30% of road deaths involve a vehicle being driven for work. We wholeheartedly advocate continuing driver education, especially as there are several major issues with the current licensing system:
    • No retraining is required by law - you can get a full licence at 18 and still be driving at 60 with no intervention unless you do something contravening the law (and get caught and lose your licence) and there's no reason to seek improvement even if you never get caught
    • Immigrants from 26 countries can arrive here and swap their overseas licence for an NZ one without taking a test. This includes many countries where you might say that the style of driving is 'exhilarating' to say the least
    • Drivers can learn in one car (e.g. Suzuki Swift) and immediately progress to a substantially different car towing a sizeable trailer (e.g. Ford Ranger ute towing a caravan) with no additional training
    • We aren't taught vehicle load security (many people are injured each year due to loads shifting in the vehicle when braking or in an impact, plus there are instances where things roll under people's pedals, etc.)
    • Migrants can take a theory test in the language of their choice, despite English being the only language on our road signs and markings; we know that there are many drivers out there who don't understand the Road Code, and we have drivers of forklifts come in to get an operator's certificate who have to have a translator.
    Anyway, that's getting off-topic. Our trainers train for competency and it's not a box-ticking exercise, but we have definitely heard stories of other training companies shuffling trainees in and out in less than half an hour.
  • Don Ramsay
    Every day the Health and Safety Gravy Train gets longer.

    I agree with that statement as every time we have a qualification, there just happens to be 20 providers ready to go
  • Brian Parker
    Hi John,
    There is no legal requirement for a Forklift Operator to hold a driver licence - although the "F" Endorsement can only be added to a full licence of Classes 1 to 5.
    The lack of car driving experience certainly makes training them more difficult, but it doesn't mean they are any less competent Operators than licensed ones (once they have reached the required standard).
    However there are some WorkSafe NZ requirements that should be kept in mind for younger employees:
    1/ People under the age of 15 cannot work in any area where the work being done is likely to harm the employee
    2/ People under the age of 15 are also not allowed to work or assist with work involving machinery, including powered tools and appliances
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