To maintain a paper trail to provide to WorkSafe in the event of an incident involving the operation of walkies or pallet jacks, there are four documents which will help:
- Pedestrian-operated forklift operator’s certificate or equivalent – This says that a walkie operator was assessed as competent to operate a walkie in a closed workspace like a warehouse or yard
- Practical assessment checksheet – this shows the results of the practical assessment that you conducted on your operator
- Authorisation to operate – See below
- Training receipts – any proof you have of sending your operators to a training course or bringing an external instructor in is good evidence that you value training to keep your forklift operators safe.
How long does a walkie certificate last for?
Walkie certificates should be refreshed every three years, which means you need to keep documentation about the qualification for at least that long. However, you can choose to repeat the training more frequently than every three years.
If an operator’s walkie certificate has expired, simply have them do the online course, do the practical assessment following our checklist and guide, and this will create a new 3-year certificate for them. It doesn’t matter how long their previous operator’s certificate has been expired, but you should make sure that the operator is competent at doing the tasks you need them to do on the equipment you are providing them to use.
What is an authorisation to operate a pedestrian-operated forklift?
This is a document produced by the employer that simply states the locations an operator can work in, the equipment they are allowed to work on and if there are any restrictions to what they can carry. It’s your acknowledgement that your operator is competent. There’s no formal requirement for the format of this – it could simply be an email confirming to the employee what they are permitted to do. The ACOP says: “No Person shall operate any forklifts without an authorisation to operate from their employers. This authorisation shall be issued only after training is satisfactorily completed.” If you don’t issue an authorisation to operate then it’s assumed that the operator is authorised to operate anywhere they are asked to within your company’s premises.
Sample authorisation to operate
This is to certify that [insert name], having successfully completed specific, job and familiarisation training is authorised to operate the following equipment:
Job Type: __________
Machine Type: _________
Date of Issue: _________
An authorisation to operate is not transferable to another employer. If your employee is required to operate a pedestrian-operated forklift at a client’s or supplier’s premises, e.g. to load a truck, then it’s the responsibility of that PCBU to ensure they have inducted the operator into their health and safety system and that the employee is competent on the equipment they will use.
Maintaining your operators’ ability to do their job legally and safely
To maintain your operators’ ability to use a walkie, pallet jack or any other type of pedestrian-operated forklift on your premises you need to:
- Ensure they have done a course that meets the ACOP standards within the last three years.
- Issue an authorisation to operate the walkie.
- Give them training and induction on any equipment they will be using, carrying the loads they would usually be carrying.