How to Get Licenced to Operate a Forklift in NZ

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To operate a forklift on the roads of New Zealand, a driver must have the F endorsement on his or her driver’s licence. It is important to note that the licence endorsements and class systems work together and that the licence covers the vehicle’s weight and type. Below is more information on the New Zealand forklift licensing process.

Licence Classes

In NZ, a Class 1 licence with the F endorsement pertains to machines with a loaded weight of less than 18,000kg. Class 2 licencees with the F endorsement may operate warehouse forklifts NZ with a loaded laden weight in excess of 18,000kg. If a driver is not sure if they need the F endorsement, they should call the nearest NZ Transport Agency location.

“Road” Definition

For the purposes of New Zealand’s transport laws, the definition of the term “road” is rather broad. It includes highways and streets, but it also encompasses other places the public can access, such as culverts, bridges, riverbeds, beaches, reserve lands, road shoulders, and wharves. If a person drives a forklift in any of the above areas, the rules of licensing, registration, and driver behaviour apply.

What Does a Driver Need to Get and Do?

If a driver wants to get the F endorsement, they must have a full driver’s licence (other than for motorcycles). The driver must offer proof that he or she has successfully finished a NZ-approved course that teaches specific skills and knowledge relating to safe forklift operation on the road. Approved courses cover licensing requirements only, and employers may require applicants to attend OSH (occupational safety and health) seminars in addition to having the F endorsement.

Finding a Licencing Course Provider

Drivers can find a list of course centres on the website at www.nzta.govt.nz/licence/getting/course-providers/index.html or call the contact centre. It is important for drivers to note that they cannot drive a forklift on a road because they’ve earned a course certificate; they must have the F endorsement on their driver licence.

Forklift Operator Course Outcomes

Courses cover the theory and practice of forklift operation, and they include familiarity, terminology, user responsibility, travel and control skills, loading, unloading, manoeuvring, stacking, and hazards. Upon successful completion, an operator will:

  • Understand the requirements related to operating a forklift on the road
  • Driving procedures and considerations
  • Environmental factors related to safe forklift operation
  • Demonstrate safe and legal forklift operational procedures
  • Applying for the F Endorsement

Drivers can apply for the F endorsement at their nearest driver licensing office (participating agents of Vehicle Inspection New Zealand, Vehicle Testing New Zealand, and Automobile Association. The operator will need to do the following before applying:

Complete the DL19 application (which can be downloaded on www.nzta.govt.nz/form-dl-19)
Provide proof of identity, such as a New Zealand licence, passport, or two other acceptable forms of proof of identity
Provide proof of successful completion of an accredited forklift endorsement certification course
Pay the application fee ($44)
Drivers should note that the F endorsement expires concurrently with their driver licence.

Passing the Eyesight Adequacy Check

Every time a driver applies for a new licence class or endorsement, or renews their licence, they must prove that their eyesight meets the minimum legal standard. To do it, the driver can:

Present a certificate provided by a NZ-registered optometrist (the certificate must be less than 60 days old)
Present a certificate issued by a NZ-registered doctor (again, it must be less than 60 days old, and it must specifically note the driver’s eyesight
Pass a screening check at the nearest driver licencing agent’s office
The agent’s screening machines eliminate the need for drivers to be tested by a doctor or optometrist. However, if the driver does not pass the screening test, they must offer one of the certificates listed above before receiving a new licence. Some operators of warehouse forklifts NZ choose to offer a certificate instead of undergoing a screening before they choose a forklift truck servicing in NZ. Those with vision in one eye only should provide a certificate from an optometrist or doctor.

New Zealand’s requirements for road forklift operators are quite stringent, but the rules keep operators and the public safe. After getting a forklift endorsement on a driver licence, an operator can count on Stellar Machinery (www.stellarmachinery.co.nz) for forklift rental throughout NZ. Contact them to find out how your business can be supported by their wide range of forklift machinery.

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