Forklift trainers

We certify and register all forklift trainers nationally.

Forklift registration

Competenz certifies and registers all forklift trainers nationally, and maintains a publicly accessible register of all certified forklift trainers within New Zealand — so if you’re interested, speak to us.

We also play a monitoring and support role to all forklift trainers on behalf of WorkSafe NZ, with the aim to maintain and lift safety standards in industry.

We review all applications for anyone in industry wanting to become a registered Forklift Trainer to train employees within their own workplace, or to act as an independent trainer and train employees within multiple companies.

Competenz does not offer training for Forklift Operators Certificates or ‘train the trainer’ qualifications.

How do I register, or renew my current registration?

Step 1

Complete the application form at the end of this section, and supply any documentation that may be required.

Step 2

Email your completed application and all supporting documents to

Step 3

A Competenz appointed forklift auditor will check your application against the criteria given in the Approved Code of Practice for forklift trainers and operators.

View the Code of Practice here.

Step 4

If your application is approved, Competenz will contact you to arrange a mutually agreed time for an on-site audit with a Competenz appointed forklift auditor.

Step 5

The auditor will come to your workplace to:

  • Conduct the audit
  • Provide feedback to you on your practical teaching and assessment skills (shown at the Forklift Operator course)
  • Advise you of the recommendation they’ll make to Competenz about your capabilities.

Step 6

The Quality Support team will complete a final evaluation of your application, and advise in writing whether or not you’ve been successful.

Step 7

If your application has been successful, Competenz will:

  • Advise on the period of your registration (usually a period of between 1–3 years)
  • Register your details on the National Forklift Trainer database
  • Invoice your company for the services provided
  • Email you a certificate endorsing your registration as a forklift trainer.

Step 8

If your application has not been successful Competenz will advise you why this decision has been reached, along with recommended steps you can take to ensure you’re successful next time you apply.




  • For a single, new trainer registration (from one company).


  • To register multiple trainers from one company, or
  • New trainers intending to use the Competenz-approved training resource package, or
  • For renewal of registration.

Charges for the onsite auditor’s travel and accommodation costs apply (POA). A $50+gst booking fee applies to all travel bookings. Any applicable cancellation costs will also be charged.

* Please note additional pre-audit charges from those listed above may be incurred if you operate both online and onsite training. A separate audit will be required for both sources of material.  An indication of additional charges can be given upon submission.


Competenz has produced resource material packages to support both the training delivery and learning. This saves you the time and expense of creating and maintaining your own quality training resources.

Workbooks also help your trainees toward achievement of three Competenz forklift unit standards.

The new forklift operator training resources assess trainee operators against:

  • 10851 – Operate a powered industrial lift truck (forklift)

Competenz has assessment materials only for the following unit standards:

  • 10852 – Operate a powered industrial lift truck (forklift) fitted with attachments
  • 18409 – Use a forklift mounted safety platform in the workplace

Candidate’s pack - $50+gst
Consists of ONLY the Assessment Guide & Workbook for the candidate. (Must be purchased for every candidate).

Order forklift resources here

If you prefer to develop your own learning and assessment material these need to be pre audited and pre moderated by Competenz before they are used. The cost of pre moderation is $75+gst per hour.

NB:- Qualifying as a forklift trainer does not automatically allow you to report unit standards.

FAQs for trainers and operators

What is the ACOP?

This is the Approved Code of Practice which all registered forklift trainers and operators must adhere to. You can read the ACOP here.

What are the 'train the trainer' requirements?

Only instructors who have successfully completed a recognised `train the trainer’ course in instructional techniques, will be considered qualified to provide training, assess operators and to issue certificates.

The adult education skills sets required are outlined in the forklift ACOP.

These skill sets can be evidenced by the following unit standards.

•      Forklift trainer qualification

4098 is not a requirement for trainers, only assessors.

NB: If you require an ‘F’ endorsement on your driver’s license, the minimum age for this is 18yrs.

Do I need to hold a forklift operator certificate to operate a forklift?

Yes – unless an equivalent certification is provided that meets or exceeds the guidelines found in the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). The Health and Safety in Employment Act 2002 Section 20 requires all operators of forklifts to be trained in their safe operation.

Section 36 (Primary Duty of Care) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 states: A person conducting business or undertaking (PCBUs) – the primary duty of care is a broad overarching duty. It includes, but is not limited to, so far as reasonably practical:

  • Providing and maintaining safe plant and equipment
  • Providing and maintaining safe systems at work
  • Ensuring safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • Proving any information, training, instruction, or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

To ensure this is the case, there are two levels of training required to meet WorkSafe’s expectations in relation to the Health and Safety at Work Act.

  1. General competency: Forklift operators must meet a standard of training outlined the ACOP, by either meeting the requirements of the ACOP or by other means that meet or exceed these general forklift competency requirements. Forklift operators can meet this requirement by passing a forklift training course led by a Competenz-registered forklift trainer, and a refresher course at least once every three years.
  2. Site-specific training: The PCBU employing the forklift operator also has the responsibility to ensure the operator is trained to safely use the forklift in a manner that mitigates the risks associated with the specific work environment in which the forklift will be operated.

Both of these actions are required; the site-specific training is in addition to the general competency training not an alternative for it.

How does the change from Department of Labour to WorkSafe affect training and forklift certification?

  • All forklift operators certificates should be referencing WorkSafe, not OSH or DOL.
  • Programmes should no longer be referencing OSH - the correct terminology is forklift operators training.

Can a trainer issue an ‘Operate Under Supervision’ certificate?

Operating under supervision – best practice

Under the new H&S Act 2015, section 9 of part 1 outlines the duty of every employer to provide information, supervision and training in uses of plant of any kind.  

It is recommended new operators have 15 hours supervised practical experience in the workplace prior to attending a forklift operator's course or can return to the trainer at a later date for further training and a resit opportunity.

Trainers should not be supplying a certificate indicating that the trainee is able to operate under supervision. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that any training procedures are documented.  The trainee is authorised by the employer on the basis they have been trained and are competent to operate the forklift.

How does the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 affect training and forklift certification?

Worksafe New Zealand has provided the following detail regarding the legislation changes to the Health and Safety legislation (Health and Safety at Work Act 2015):

  • The current Forklift Code of Practice still applies.
  • The relevant regulations will be incorporated into the new regulations, under the Plant and Structures legislation, as part of ‘Phase 2’ of the changes which is likely to happen over the next year or two.
  • Current regulations and practices remain in place until these have been reviewed.

If you require further details, you can email the forklift registrar here.

Can I be trained to operate a forklift if I have had no previous experience?

Yes. Most forklift trainers provide good practical lessons in their courses.

How can I find a trainer who offers forklift training?

A list of registered forklift trainers is available on the right hand side of this page.

Can I achieve NZQA unit standards by attending a forklift operator training course?

You can if the trainer is registered with an industry training organisation (ITO) to assess unit standards or is an NZQA accredited provider.

How long should a forklift operator course take to complete?

New operator: This can be up to two days. Refresher course: This can be up to one day.

How long should a practical forklift assessment take?

  • This is separate from the time needed for training
  • The practical assessment shall have a minimum duration of 10-15 minutes per trainee. The pre-operational checks and debrief should not form part of that time  

Does an F Endorsement on my driver licence qualify me to operate a forklift in a warehouse?

No. The F Endorsement authorises you to drive a forklift on a road.

How often must I renew my forklift operator’s certificate?

Every three years.

How often must I renew my forklift trainers certificate?

Usually every three years.

Do I need a forklift operator certificate to operate a pedestrian operated forklift?

Yes. The ACOP applies to all powered industrial lift trucks.

Do I have to be registered with Competenz to deliver a Department of Labour approved forklift operator course?

Yes. By engaging with Competenz for the registration process you are ensuring that your course and your own performance has been audited against nationally accepted industry criteria and complies with the ACOP.

If my application for forklift trainer registration is not approved am I able to seek a review of the decision?

Yes you may apply in writing to the registrar requesting the decision be reviewed. Click here to email registrar.

If I leave my job as a forklift trainer and move to another employer can I be employed in the same capacity using my existing forklift trainer registration?

No. Your initial registration was awarded on the basis of working for the first employer using course material that was approved for that company. You will need to reapply for registration for the new company and submit course material intended to be used.

Where can I find an example of the syllabus to be taught on a forklift operator course?

Appendix D of the Department of Labour Approved Code of Practice for forklift trainers and operators. You can read the ACOP here.

How often must I attend refresher training?

The ACOP states: 'Certificates to be valid for a period of three years, after which instructors should attend a period of refresher training and be re-examined to ensure that they are sufficiently competent to remain registered.’ This guideline is supported by WorkSafe. Please refer to your operator’s certificate for the expiry date.

What is included in the refresher training?

The Competenz expectation is that the same content should be covered in a refresher course as that of the initial Forklift Operators Certificate course. However, this information may be slightly condensed. The practical component of the training will also be required.

The overall duration of the course should be no less than three hours and the practical assessment should take at least ten to fifteen minutes.

A new certificate will be issued upon completion of the refresher training.

What is the minimum age for a person to be able gain a forklift operators certificate?

At least 15yrs. The Health and Safety Act 1995 – section 56 states that no employee under the age of 15 can work with any machinery in a place of work.

Specifically section 46 of the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016 states:

Section 46: duty to ensure young persons do not work at or with machinery

(1) A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practical, that no worker aged under 15 years –      
    a) Works at or with any machinery at the workplace or
    b) Assists with work at or with any machinery at the workplace

(2) In subclause (1) machinery –
    a) Means an engine, motor or other appliance that provides mechanical energy derived from compressed air, the combustion of fuel, electricity, gas, gaseous products, steam, water, wind, or any other source
    b) Includes
        i) Any plant by or to which the motion of any machinery is transmitted and
        ii) A lifting machine, a lifting vehicle, a machine whose motive power is wholly or partly generated by the human body and a tractor.

NB: If you require an ‘F’ endorsement on your driver’s license, the minimum age for this is 18yrs.

Do I need an ‘F’ endorsement on my driver’s license?

You will need to apply for an F endorsement on your driver’s license if you will be operating a forklift on a road.

There may be some instances where a warehouse environment is classed as a road, if the public can gain access. Please see below the definition of a road. For queries regarding gaining the F endorsement, please contact MITO

What is the definition of a road?

Definition of a road (Land Transport Act 1998)

Road includes:

a) A street

b) A motorway

c) A beach

d) A place to which the public have access, whether as a right or not

e) All bridges, culverts, ferries and fords forming part of a road or street or motorway

f)  All sites at which vehicles may be weighed for the purposes of the act or any other enactment.

Is it compulsory to wear a seat belt on a forklift?

If a seat belt is fitted then yes you need to wear it. A seat belt must be worn if the forklift is driven on the road.

Is a Telehandler classed as a forklift?

If the Telehandler has forks attached then yes but there are distinct differences, e.g. load capacity charts which should be covered by the trainer. Forklift operator training courses should use a conventional powered industrial lift truck.

What is the maximum size of forklift that can be operated?

There are no guidelines in terms of classification however Industry has adopted the following in terms of sizes a forklift operator may use.

•         Forklift weighing 18000kg or less (with a load), Class 1 licence and F endorsement.

•         Forklift weighing 18001kg or more (with a load), Class 2 license and F endorsement.

Approved Code of Practice
(PDF, 375 KB)
(PDF, 1 MB)

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