Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1:What are my Legal obligations?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and the Approved Code of Practice for Forklifts, it is a requirement that all forklift operators are trained, certified, and authorized to operate forklifts. No one under the age of 15 should be operating a forklift in the work place.

Question 2:Are forklift operators required to have a forklift operator certificate/licence?

Yes - New Zealand requirements are for operators to have passed a WorkSafe approved training course. If required to operate on a road or highway an "F" endorsement on their drivers licence for the appropriate weight of forklift being operated is required.

Question 3:Do I need to renew my certificate?

Yes - The WorkSafe Code of Practice for training of forklift operators requires that refresher training be given within three years.

Question 4:Does holding a motor vehicle licence, even with an "F" endorsement, entitle that person to operate a forklift in the workplace?

It does not entitle that person to operate a forklift in a workplace; they must have a current WorkSafe certificate to operate in the workplace. Note: a road could be deemed a place of work.

Question 5:What would happen if a forklift operator had an accident and did not hold a current WorkSafe certificate?

The employer and or operator could be liable for prosecution. As of the 4 April 2016 The Health and Safety at Work Act came into force; The maximum fine courts can impose has increased to $600,000 or five years in jail, or a combination of both.

Question 6:Can a WorkSafe inspector issue an infringement notice?

Yes - Much like traffic infringement fees that may be imposed ‘on the spot’ by the Police, the Health and Safety at Work Act Regulations allow for WorkSafe NZ Inspectors to issue infringement notices and fees. As with a traffic ticket, the infringement notice is effectively an ‘instant fine’ which can be imposed for any of the infringements listed here. The infringement notice may be imposed on the business involved or on an individual worker.

Question 7:Is there a New Zealand standard for forklift design, rating & service?

Yes - NZSBS6.1 is the endorsed standard for forklifts in NZ and covers design, rating and service requirements. An inspection scheme for forklifts to NZSBS6.1 is in place and available from certified companies authorised to use the S.Mark for forklift inspections by Bureau Veritas.

Question 8:What will attending a forklift operators course achieve for me, or my company?

All of the following;
  • Improved profitability and productivity.
  • Improved operator forklift safety.
  • Reduced stock, racking, truck and forklift damage.
  • Reduce downtime and running costs through proper use and maintenance.
  • Reduced chance of potential injuries.

Question 9:Once certified who is liable in the case of an accident?

This would depend on the circumstances of the incident but generally once operators are certified to the Worksafe Approved Code of Practice the onus is on the driver to operate the forklift safely using correct procedures.

Question 10:What is a forklift?

The Worksafe code of Practice defines a powered industrial lift truck as a vehicle drawn or propelled by mechanical, electrical or manual power, designed incorporating a powered lift principally to lift carry or stack goods by means of a fork consisting of one or more arms which support the load; or a platform or; any attachment or other mechanism. Without limiting this definition this includes forklifts, order pickers, side loaders, reach trucks, pallet trucks, platform trucks, straddle trucks and lateral trucks. While this definition does not include straddle carriers, much of this code of practice is applicable to that equipment.

FTC South (NZ) Limited - Lifting the Standards