Purchasing a new forklift
Information to help you buy a new forklift that is safe for your workers and complies with the law.
Exchanging critical safety information at the time of purchase is a legal requirement. Make sure you get all the safety information about your forklift from your supplier.
Know what you need
Before purchasing consider what you are going to use the forklift for and make sure the forklift is designed to undertake the work you want to use if for.
- Talking to your workers who will operate the forklift about requirements for the forklift trucks. Discuss possible WHS risks and appropriate controls. Your workers can assist in identifying safe operating controls including visibility mirrors, seat design for comfort and back support
- Talking with a reputable dealer and discussing with them your requirements
- Do you need a forklift truck or would some other item of plant do the job? For example: pallet jack, pedestrian operated forklift
- The workplace you will be using the forklift. Will it fit within the workplace area, including aisles, is there enough space for the forklift to move around?
- What maximum rated lifting capacity you will require? How much weight will you be lifting?
- What maximum height and outreach you will require? How high will you need to lift a load?
- Whether the forklift will be used on indoor or outdoor operating surfaces. The type of surface and terrain may impact on its use. The surface will determine what type of tyres you need, pneumatic or solid rubber tyres?
- Whether you require an electric, petrol, gas or diesel forklift. How often will you be using the forklift will help to determine the power source.
- Will you need to control the forklift emissions. Are there any environmental restrictions?
- Whether you require flame or static proof requirements.
- Will you require attachments.
- Will you need any additional forklift date plates for any attachments to be used for example slippers, jib, spreaders, grabs and work boxes.
- Is the load backrest the appropriate height for the loads being used, will you need an extended backrest extension.
- Identifying the controls that are required to eliminate hazards or minimise health and safety risks. Are these controls incorporated into the design of the forklift?
- Guards, seat belts and operator restraints.
- ‘Smart’ technologies such as proximity devices to trigger signals,
- Warning devices such as forklift to worker proximity sensors, reverse lights, reverse sensors, flashing lights, beepers, quackers and focus beams.
- Speed limiting devices and operator visibility devices such as side mirrors and reverse cameras.
- Will the operator be required to frequently get on and off the forklift? Is a stand on forklift better suited for the job compared to a sit-down forklift?
- Whether certain modifications would need to be made to meet Australian expectations as outlined in Australian Standard 2359 series.
- What you will need to operate the forklift, including operator licensing requirements, on-going training, instructions, supervision and verification of competencies.
- Identifying the future inspection and maintenance requirements. Including:
- The availability of information, assistance and on-going support from the manufacturer which is specific to Australian requirements.
- The availability of compatible spare parts.
- When the next major inspection is required.
- A maintenance plan with regular inspections will help keep your operator’s safe and reduce downtime.
- The availability of suitable competent persons to undertake inspections and maintenance.
- Are there any transport or storage requirements to consider?
- Do you have a traffic management plan for your workplace and site safety rules to manage the risk of forklifts colliding with people or other mobile plant?
- Do you have traffic management controls such as, separation, barricades, bollards, designated walkways, driver safe zones, boom gates, convex mirrors, high visible and warning signs.
Know your WHS obligations
When you buy a forklift and take ownership under the WHS legislation you become a person with management or control. This requires you to ensure the forklift is without risks to the health and safety of any person, including those who are near the forklift when it is in use.
You must ensure it is fit for purpose and use it for what it was designed to do. Ensure it is correctly operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or in the absence of such specification, in accordance with a competent person’s recommendations.
Know the supplier's WHS obligations
Suppliers must take all reasonable steps to obtain relevant information from the forklift’s manufacturer and then pass on that information when supplying the forklift. You should obtain as much of this information as you can, such as:
- What the forklift was designed or manufactured to do and the date it was manufactured
- What safety features does it have or what safety equipment do you need to safely operate the forklift
- Adequate information or results from any calculations, analysis, testing or examination that will help to ensure safe operation of the forklift
- The conditions required to ensure the safe operations of the forklift, for example operator’s manual
- The maintenance, inspection and testing requirements of the forklift to ensure continued safe operation, for example maintenance manual.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 Sections 20-26 for specific information on the duties of persons who design, manufacture, import, supply, install, own and manage items of plant.