Purchasing a second-hand forklift
Information to help you buy a second-hand 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 the previous owner.
Use this checklist when buying a second-hand mobile forklift to ensure its safety features meet the expectations in the Australian Standard AS 2359 series.
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 discuss with them your requirements
- What is the service history? Consider the hours of work of the forklift and its past usage.
- Has the forklift been inspected by a qualified person to assess it for defects?
- Is the forklift up to present standards, will it cost extra to bring it up to standard?
- Do you need a forklift 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, seatbelts 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, ongoing 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 a traffic management controls such as, separation, barricades, bollards, designated walkways, driver safe zones, boom gates, convex mirrors, high visibility and warning signs. Your workers can assist in identifying safe operating controls
Know your WHS obligations
When you buy a second-hand 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. Forklifts that are purchased second-hand may have defects or missing parts that mean it cannot be put into service without repairs or modifications.
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 what you need to get from the previous owner
You must take all reasonable steps to obtain relevant information from the previous owner. 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
- Information on how to use and maintain the forklift
- Records of maintenance, inspection and testing. When is the next inspection due? Can it be inspected personally or does it require independent inspection?
Are there any modifications? Recent repairs?
The previous owner must also identify faults with the forklift and provide the buyers this information in writing. If appropriate, they must provide a statement that the forklift should not be used until the faults are rectified. Where are second-hand forklift is being sold for scrap or spare parts and is not intended to be used, the previous owner must tell the buyers in writing or by marking the forklift that:
- The forklift is being supplied for scrap or spare parts only, and
- The forklift cannot be used in its current form.
In this case, if the buyer then wanted to use the forklift it would first need to be inspected by a competent person, and any faults identified would then need to be rectified before putting the forklift into service.
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.
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 Part 3.1 for specific information on managing risks to health and safety.