Frequently Asked Questions

Q.Is my Forklift or Order Picker Licence Still Legal?

valid Forklift Licence Invalid Forklift Licence
This is a current 5 year renewable High Risk Work Licence As of 30th June 2014 this style of licence is no longer legal.Call Workplace Health and Safety Qld on 1300 369 915 to ascertain if anything can be done to transition your Licence through to a HRW Licence.

Call us if you need to discuss arrangements for re-assessment.

Q Do I need to give 3 days notice to do my forklift assessment?

Yes, all Registered Training Organisations conducting Forklift, Order Picker (or any other high risk work assessment) need to provide WHSQ with a minimum of 3 business days notification period for any assessments – there is no way around this for any trainee. The reason for this system is to allow WHSQ to allocate inspectors to audit the delivery of the assessments.

Changes to Earthmoving Licences

As of 1st January 2012, all of the earthmoving occupations were de-regulated Read_more i.e. do not require a licence to operate. This equipment includes backhoes, front end loaders, excavators, rollers, skid steer loaders, dozers, graders and scrapers. What does an employer or student have to do now to prove competency Read more …trainees that complete a course at The Operator School will be issued with a “competency card” to demonstrate to an employer that a course of training has been done. This is the way that machinery training and assessment will be conducted from this day forward.

Q.Can I still operate a Forklift on my old Paper Licence?


Any paper licence holders who need to operate a forklift or order picker in the workplace will need to undertake further training to bring them up to current Australian standards plus knowledge of Legislation and Regulations. They will need to undertake re-assessment and make a fresh application for a Licence at a Queensland branch of Australia Post. Talk to us about an RPL course (Recognised Prior Learning).

Q. Can I still operate an Excavator on my old Paper Licence?

Determining the competency of earthmoving operators will remain the obligation of the employer (person conducting a business or undertaking) and as such it will be up to each PCBU to decide if that particular licence / card paper certificate will be accepted to assist in evidencing competency. The PCBU will still have an obligation to ensure the worker has received training on the specific plant and particular job. Some employers may accept your old paper licence, others may not – you may have to bring your existing qualification through to currency. There are huge penalties for PCBU’s that do not provide adequate training and instruction to their workers.

Q. Does a backhoe cover me for a front end loader?

A. Under the previous Work Health and Safety Regulation 2008, the answer was no, they were classed as 2 separate machines and 2 separate competencies. If you held a backhoe licence you could legally operate the GP bucket and the hoe on that machine. However, If you were then asked to operate a front end loader – you would not be legally allowed to do so. Under the current Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and 2011 Work Health and Safety Regulations – it is down to the employer to ensure a worker has the adequate training and instruction on any machine they are being asked to operate. However, even under current legislation there are separate units of competency for these machines. Ask us for details

Q. How big does my earthmoving machine need to be for a practical assessment?

A. Can be any size. Under current Work Health and Safety Regulations, the size and the capacity of the machine are not relevant to assessment. Anyone operating any type of earthmoving machinery needs to be competent. This is not the same as in the previous 2008 Workplace Health and Safety Legislation where if a machine that was smaller than 2 litre the operator did not legally require a licence.

Q. If I have over 40 hours in a logbook already can I just take the test only?

A. Depends.
If you have already done your theory training beforehand and have the necessary paperwork issued by a RTO or an employer then the answer is Yes, we should be able to progress you through to your practical exam and finalisation of assessment.

If you have 40 hours logged in a logbook where no theory or formal training was done before you started recording hours in that logbook the answer is a definite No.

Note: In July 2008 it passed into The Workplace Health and Safety Regulations that the theory training MUST be done before any logbook hours (work based practical) training can take place. All new logbooks available in the marketplace today allow for this to happen.

In legal terms, hours recorded in a logbook where no theory session has been delivered first are classed as “illegally trained hours”, and any trainees using this old system and still recording hours in a logbook are actually operating illegally and need to take steps to rectify the situation.  Penalties of up to $20,000 (200 penalty units) apply.

Trainees have 2 options in this situation, either start again with a 2 stage training course or enrol for a 3 day course with the possibility of an early assessment.

Q. Is my New Zealand (or Overseas)  Forklift Licence valid for work in Australia?

A. No, you need to “cross your licence over” to an Australian Licence, you can contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland 1300 369 915 to see if you qualify for an automatic transfer. However, in our experience Licences that can be swapped straight over are in the minority. Most overseas Forklift Licence holders have to undertake some gap training and re-certification.  If your Licence is a current and you have recent experience, you may qualify for a 1 day RPL gap training course.  If your Licence is over 5 -6 years old and it is a while since you have used a machine, you will probably find that the 3 day course is more suited to you.

Q. Does the Skid Steer Assessment (formerly Licence) cover me for a Drott?

A. Yes

Q. Does the Skid Steer Assessment (formerly Licence) cover me for a Dozer?

A. No, because a dozer doesn’t load, it just pushes. LZ is the licence category for Dozer

Q. Is my Forklift / Order Picker licence a national licence?

A. It is a Qld issued licence recognised nationally – renewable every 5 years.

Q. Does my Rollers, Tracks and Wheels cover me for machinery in Australia?

A. No, the RTW is only an endorsement onto a NZ driving licence to drive a piece of machinery on the road. It does not cover any sort of operation of the machinery in the area of loadshifting, which is what the competencies and old licences are based upon in Australia.

If you have a certificate for any training you have done on a particular machine, you will need to put forward a recognised prior learning application form for consideration. We would then be able to look at that and see if anything could be done where we could organise a 1 day gap training course for you to bring your qualification through to the Australian Standard. If you only hold the RTW endorsement we can either undertake a 2 stage course done in conjunction with an employer if you currently have one, or a 3 to 5 day course with a view to an early assessment.

Q. What do I need to drive a Forklift on the road?

When driving a forklift on the road, the machine needs to be either road registered or a permit (or exemption) obtained to allow the machine to be on a road.

You will also need a high risk work licence.Plus an operator needs a the relevant machinery Licence (competency card) PLUS the right class of “vehicle” licence.

You will also need a current driving licence (for the class of car is fine).

Q. What do I need to drive a Piece of earth moving equipment on the road?

When driving a tractor, backhoe, etc. on the road, the machine needs to be either road registered or a permit (or exemption) obtained to allow the machine to be on a road.

Plus an operator needs the relevant machinery Licence (or competency card)

You will also need a current driving licence (for the class of car is fine)

The Qld issued UD Licence is currently being phased out (to bring Qld into line with other States).  Operators driving heavy machinery on the road will not be required to obtain a Heavy Rigid Licence, they will be allowed to drive an earthmoving machine on the road with a car Licence.

The class UD will not be issued to new applicants from 1 January 2014.

However operators should be aware that from 1 January 2016 all mobile cranes over 4.5t GVM will not be able to be driven on a class UD licence. If you wish to drive a mobile crane over 4.5t GVM after the two year transitional period you will be required to hold the appropriate class of heavy vehicle licence.

Please contact us for more details.


Q. What do I do if I missed the 60 day lodgement deadline for my Forklift Licence?

If we trained you …. Under Workplace Health and Safety Legislation we still have regulations to follow and a responsibility to make sure that you are still current and competent on a machine. If we trained and assessed you then we will obviously know what was covered in our own course. Therefore, if you only missed the deadline by 1-6 months it maybe possible for you to just re-sit the theory, the calculation exam and the practical skills test and be issued with new paperwork.

If you missed your deadline by over 6 months, or if you feel that you struggled with your course and you need a refresher session on either the theory or the practical training, we can arrange for you to spend a day with us – effectively a 1 day RPL course.

If you missed your deadline by over 12 months then you will be required to re-enrol on a 3 day course with a view to early assessment (this is the way most RTO’s do it).

If we did not train you …. The Assessment only option would not be open to you if your original training course was not undertaken with us, as we could never be 100% sure that everything that needed to be covered was covered. Given that this is high risk work and the “detail” is important, we would have to start at a minimum of a 1 day gap training course or a 3 day training course with a view to an early assessment, depending on how much time has elapsed since you missed the deadline for licence application and what you have been doing on the machine since that time.

You will need to complete a Recognised Prior Learning Application form before acceptance onto any course. A letter of support from an employer is a valuable tool in these instances but not essential. Click on link to download RPL application form