New telehandler licence requirements kick in

10 July 2024

Victorian farmers with telehandlers over three tonnes are being advised of changes to licensing requirements. Pic: UNSPLASH.COM/Ries Bosch

An article by  John Darcy

Operators of telehandlers with a rated capacity greater than three tonnes will be required to hold a WorkSafe issued High Risk Work Licence under new requirements that commenced in Victoria from July 1.

Whilst this will have a significant impact on Victorian farmers, farm machinery businesses and those involved in transportation of these machines, will also need to ensure that their employees are licensed.

The licensing requirements that have been put in place by WorkSafe Victoria will apply to any person that operates a telehandler over three tonnes. The requirements are only applicable in Victoria.

To obtain a licence a person will need to attend training at one of the five training organisations that have been approved by WorkSafe to deliver the training. An operator will need to be assessed as being competent and will then have to apply to WorkSafe to be issued with a photo ID licence, which will be valid for five years.

The training is expected to be three days in duration. The training providers have not yet determined the pricing for the training however it is anticipated to be close to $2000 per person.

From July 1, 2024, it became an offence under Victorian OHS regulations for an employer to allow a person to perform high risk work without a licence.

It is hoped that the number of training providers will be increased in coming weeks. The training providers that have already been approved by WorkSafe are currently making preparations to be able to deliver the training and courses will be available for the public in a few weeks time.

If an employer does not ensure that operators, including themselves, hold the necessary licence a WorkSafe Inspector visiting their business will most likely issue an Improvement Notice which will legally compel them to provide the training.

The absence of a licence would also be taken into account in the event of an incident involving a telehandler and may increase the employer's exposure to prosecution, possibly including workplace manslaughter.

The recently formed Safer Farms Victoria is attempting to work with the approved training providers to ensure that the training is available in multiple locations throughout regional Victoria.


John Darcy is the Director of the newly formed Safer Farms Victoria. John brings vast safety experience, with 35 years in industry association roles including in automotive, construction and agriculture. 


News that inspires, educates and celebrates life and work in regional Australia.