Home - Question from Karen Dorman ([email protected])
April 20, 2021

Question from Karen Dorman ([email protected])

When using earthmoving equipment to do high risk work, does the operator need a high risk work licence. For example using a front end loader with a set of forklift tines to use for lifting, or lifting point with slings etc for lifting. Our using crane jib on forklift.

Hi Karen

Thank you for your query.

Under the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (which apply in all states and territories except Victoria and Western Australia), theOccupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (WA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) (together,Regulations), a person must not carry out a class of high risk work unless the person holds a high risk work licence for that class of high risk work.

High risk work includes, among other things, operating a forklift truck or certain types of cranes and hoists and undertaking dogging or rigging work. Depending on the type of equipment used, the type of work may fall into a category of high risk work and will require a high risk work licence. Generally, a person who operates a forklift must hold a high risk work forklift licence. However, the attachments used on certain equipment may impact this requirement. For example, SafeWork NSW states that if a telehandler is fitted with forks or a bucket, a high risk work licence is not required. For more details about types of high risk work licence and classes of high risk work, please refer to the SafeWork Australia’s page here. The relevant information can also be found in each of state or territory work health and safety regulator’s website (for example, see SafeWork SA and WorkSafe WA).

Notably, in 2012 licences for certain earth-moving equipment, including front-end loaders, were discontinued. As such, high risk work licences are no longer required for front-end loaders. For a full list of discontinued licences, please see here.

Under the Regulations, a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), or an employer, must not direct or allow a worker to carry out high risk work unless the worker holds an appropriate licence for the work. Penalties apply for a breach of this regulation. Further, employers have a legal duty to, so far as is reasonably practicable, maintain a safe working environment and ensure that health and safety of workers is not put at risk. Failure to ensure that the person has a high risk work licence for the relevant work could expose you to risk for breach of your health and safety obligations.

The following resources may also be helpful:

·         Forklifts information sheet for owners and operators

·         High risk work licencing information sheets for dogging work and when operating a vehicle loading, bridge or gantry crane

Hope this information helps.


Michael Selinger  Partner, Holding Redlich