A Complete Guide for Using Forklift Trucks on the Public Highway in Australia
Accidents involving forklift trucks may attract a huge penalty and the driver or the company involved may have to face severe consequences. Every year forklift accidents occur due to lack of training. Proper training can prevent at least 25% of the forklift accidents. Every year, forklift accidents cause 35,000 serious and 62,000 non serious injuries. Even the experienced forklift drivers commit mistakes for which they have to pay a huge price. That is why, while operating a forklift, it is better to be safe than sorry. When you are using forklift trucks on public highways, there are certain things you should keep in mind. Aussie Forklift Hire has listed down things that you should consider before forklift hire Sydney.
In Australia, permission to drive a forklift on the road is given very carefully. If you want the permission, you need to fulfil the below mentioned requirements.
1. Conditional Registration:
For forklift trucks, non-complying vehicles only get conditional registration, that too after thoroughly checking the condition of the vehicle. When you apply for conditional registration, following factors are taken into consideration.
– If the vehicle is meeting applicable safety standards or not
– If the vehicle is safe for:
– The vehicle operator
– Passengers of the Vehicle (if any)
– Other vehicles on the road
– Day and night driving
– Special considerations as per the area of operation (if any)
Keep in mind that if you are operating a vehicle that is oversized or over mass, you have to comply with the conditions of permit or access notice. If you want an intrastate permit, you can get more information from the Special Permits Unit on the number 1300 656 371. For interstate permits, contact the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator on 1300 696 487.
2. Driver Licence:
You need to have a Class C Driver Licence for driving a forklift truck on the public highway.
3. Vehicle Requirements:
Whether your forklift is fully registered or conditionally, you must never operate it out of the boundaries of the area for which you have acquired the permission.
4. Equipment Requirements:
For operating forklift trucks, you must use lights as indicated in the Schedule 2 of the road transport (Vehicle Registration) regulation 2017 for light vehicles or Schedule 2 of the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation (NSW) for heavy vehicles. These include amber rotating beacon, brake and turn lights, rear reflectors, rear vision mirror and horn.
5. Conditions for Using Forklift Trucks:
There are certain conditions that you must comply in order to acquire permission to use forklift trucks.
– Use only daylight, floodlit. This is not applicable to the vehicles having headlights.
– Driver must use flashing amber beacon when the vehicle is moving
– Except from the areas designated for operation, the vehicle should be floated from site to site.
– Name of the street and suburb should be specified in the designated route.
– Vehicles with hydraulic steering need steering failure warning devices or signs. The vehicle must restrict operations to the designated areas.
– Forklift trucks require a left-hand drive sign if the steering is fitted to the left.
6. Details for office use regarding Roads and Maritime services:
|Compulsory Third-Party Insurance Class||Conditional Registration-SVEH/FARM/PLNT Unregistered Vehicle Permit-SVEH/FARM/PLNT|
Things to Keep in Mind If You are Using Telehandler on Public Road:
One should always remove the forks or carry them on a trailer while driving on a public road. The attachment should be folded back and secured or should be covered or protected properly. You must be thinking, why much fuss about the forklifts?
Australian government considers the attachment as a dangerous projection for other road users. In 2015, 96 deaths were caused due to accidents involving forklifts. If the driver is caught using a truck with attachment, he can face consequences for dangerous driving. In order to improve stability, drivers are advised to keep the centre of gravity of the loader at the lowest possible. It further improves driver’s visibility and helps the driver in observing the surroundings from the cab.
If you drive or pull out from a gateway with the raised loader, it can be quite risky for the other road users such as lorry drivers. Driving with a machine attachment on a public highway is a breach of road traffic legislation. Driver must be careful about not lifting or lowering the loader while taking a turn. To ensure safety, the driver must check the following:
– On multi-mode steering machines, 2-wheel steer mode is selected
– If independent brakes are fitted, they should be latched together
– If differential lock is fitted, it should be disconnected
– Excessive dirt is removed and the machine is clean
– Indicators, windscreen wipers and lights are properly working
– Mirrors are clean and properly adjusted
– Cab windows are not dirty
– You have centralised the side shift
– You have worn the lap belt
You can further reduce the risk by making sure the vehicle has mirrors placed on the right place, there is a banksman to help the driver, driver has a good visibility and the access points or gateways are wider.
Everything You Need to Know about Forklift Licences:
If you want to operate the vehicle in NSW, you will need a high-risk work licence. A Registered Training Organization (RTO) assesses driver’s training, skill and knowledge under realistic workplace conditions before issuing a national licence to carry out work that involves high risk. Operating telehandlers with fitted forks and bucket does not require high risk work licence.
In order to get a licence, the minimum age of the driver should be 18 years. He should be able to speak English to the level that he can safely carry out high risk work.
Ways to Ensure Forklift Safety:
You can ensure the safety of forklift operation by following the below mentioned steps:
Trust qualified operators: Make sure the driver has a proper certification for using forklift. If the driver is qualified, he will take timely and better decisions keeping everyone’s safety in mind.
Safety equipment: Forklift drivers must wear protective gear to ensure their safety. Drivers should wear hard hats, steel toed shoes and safety vest along with checking hands and feet for oil and grease before entering.
Fully functional equipment: Every day before starting the work, the driver should ensure that the equipment is fully functional.
How to start?
Operators should properly use steps and hand grabs to enter into the vehicle. The operator should situate himself in a way that all the controls are well within his reach. In order to get a full range of view, the operator should adjust mirrors regularly. Do not forget to use the operator seat belt and restraint system before starting the truck.
Things to Consider while the truck is running:
– The driver should never leave the operator compartment to reach into other moving parts of the truck.
– The operator must pay good attention to the surrounding and be aware of the signs, speed, maximum permitted load, clearance heights and guidelines while the vehicle is running.
– While entering or exiting the building, take height of the load, mast, overhead guard into consideration.
– Maintain safe distance from loading docks to avert hazards.
– The driver must obey speed limits and slow down while changing direction or stopping.
– Drivers should blow horns and slow down near intersections, blind corners, door and ramp openings, pedestrian walkways.
– Operators should ensure stability and security of the load. When required, he should use straps or ropes.
– Never overload the truck, this may result in an accident if the operator loses control.
– Drivers should never compromise with visibility and ensure that they get a clear view of the road while operating forklift or driving in reverse.
– Stick to instructions and never use forklifts for any other purposes than specified.
– Operators must keep people away from the mast and truck to avoid injury and accident.
– While refuelling or recharging, ensure the forklift is turned off to avoid fire outbreak. How to end the program?
– Each and every forklift should have a designated parking space. Driver must park the vehicle properly and lower the forks and apply a parking brake before leaving the vehicle.
I am owner of Aussie Forklift Hire. Aussie Forklift Hire is a Sydney based business specialising in forklift hire, sales, purchasing, lease and fleet management. We offer affordable and competitive rates for hire from our fleet paired with professional service.