Can I Drive a Forklift Without a Licence in NSW?

No, you cannot drive a forklift without a licence in New South Wales (NSW). Operating a forklift in NSW without the appropriate licence is illegal and can result in hefty fines and penalties. SafeWork NSW mandates that all forklift operators must be licenced to ensure workplace safety. If you’re considering a career involving forklift operations or need to use a forklift for your business, it’s essential to understand the licencing requirements and the steps to obtain one.

With that said, here are 5 simple steps to understand the forklift licencing process

1. Understand the Types of Forklift Licences

Before applying, it’s crucial to understand that there are different types of forklift licences:

  • LF Licence: Allows you to operate any forklift truck except for an order picking forklift truck.
  • LO Licence: Allows you to operate only an order picking forklift truck.

Ensure you apply for the licence that matches the type of forklift you intend to operate.

2. Undertake a Forklift Training Course

Enrol in a forklift training course at a registered training organisation (RTO). These courses are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to operate a forklift safely and efficiently. The training typically covers:

  • Basic forklift operations
  • Safety protocols and procedures
  • Proper handling and transporting of goods
  • Efficient manoeuvring in various conditions

3. Pass the Assessment

After completing the training, you’ll undergo an assessment to determine your competency. This assessment is typically divided into two parts:

  • Written Test: To evaluate your knowledge of forklift operations, safety guidelines, and other related topics.
  • Practical Test: Where you demonstrate your ability to operate a forklift under various conditions.

It’s essential to pass both tests to qualify for a licence. If you fail any segment, you may need to undergo additional training before retaking the assessment.

4. Apply for the Forklift Licence with SafeWork NSW

Once you’ve passed your assessment, you can apply for your forklift licence. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A completed application form.
  • Proof of identity (e.g., driver’s licence, passport).
  • Evidence of your completed training and assessment, such as a Notice of Satisfactory Assessment.
  • The application fee.

Remember, the licence is valid for five years. After which, you will need to renew it.

5. Stay Updated and Committed to Safety

Having a licence doesn’t mean the learning process ends. Forklift operators must stay updated with the latest safety guidelines and industry best practices. Periodic refresher courses and training can be beneficial. SafeWork NSW may also introduce new regulations or updates from time to time, so it’s essential to stay informed.

It’s also crucial to remember that a licence is a privilege, not a right. SafeWork NSW has the authority to suspend or revoke a licence if the holder is found violating safety protocols or if they’re involved in incidents due to negligence.


Operating a forklift is a significant responsibility, given the potential risks associated with the job. In NSW, the law is clear: you must have a licence to operate a forklift. This requirement ensures that only trained and competent individuals handle these machines, promoting a safe working environment for everyone.

If you’re considering operating a forklift, follow the steps outlined above. It’s not just about legality; it’s about ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you.

Leave a comment