Our customers are often asking for guidance on licencing requirements for hire equipment. To work safely it’s important to understand and comply with licencing – but obligations can vary from state to state, and from one type of equipment to the next. 

To help get you started, here we answer some commonly asked questions around training and licencing for one of our more popular types of equipment: telehandlers.

I have a forklift licence. Do I need a licence to operate a telehandler too?

You’d be surprised how often we get asked this question.

Although fork tynes are a popular type of attachment when using telehandlers, forklifts and telehandlers are actually quite different types of equipment, so they require different training and licences to operate. 

Forklift licencing is also pretty straightforward, but telehandler licencing requirements depend on the size and type of telehandler, and how you intend to use it. In other words, the capacity of your equipment and the combination of attachments you use will determine the type of licence you need.

Which industry body oversees telehandlers?

The Telescopic Handler Association of Australia (TSHA) is the peak body for workplace safety, operator training, industry standards and legislation for the use of telehandlers in Australia. The Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia (EWPA) cooperates with the TSHAA to support the use of telehandlers as elevating work platforms. 

What type of licence do I need to operate a telehandler?

In addition to the standard White Card required to work in any construction environment workplace in Australia, additional nationally recognised training and licences may be required to safely operate telehandlers. These include: 

  • CN Class High Risk Licence – for non-slewing mobile cranes (and telehandlers) greater than 3 tonnes lifting capacity.
  • WP Class High Risk Licence – licence required to operate any telehandler fitted with a boom type elevating work platform over 11m.
  • High Risk Work Licence, Mobile Slewing Crane – this licence is required for slewing telehandlers with any rated capacity and attachment.
  • EWPA Yellow Card – required when using telehandlers fitted with work platforms.
  • TSHA Gold Card – issued by the TSHA when telehandler and attachment combinations do not require a high-risk licence, but operators still need to comply with State WHS/OHS regulations.


What training do I need before I operate a telehandler?

Telehandler competency and licencing can seem complex. If you are unsure of your requirements, detailed telehandler licencing information, advice and quick reference guides are available from the TSHA. A quick reference guide can also be downloaded from the TSHA website.

Coates Hire’s registered training organisation offers competency-based training and verification of competency for a wide range of industry licences. 

Talk to Coates Hire today for all your training, materials handling and access equipment needs. 

Or find your local branch.

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