WA forklift operators are assessed for competence under a 7019 standard but this will not be recognised under the new laws.
Forklift operators, including farmers or farm employees, will need to be reassessed for competence by a WorkSafe-registered assessor who has qualified under the national standard.
According to WorkSafe commissioner Nina Lyhne, the new national standard was recently agreed to by all relevant State ministers following a nearly two year review of the existing laws.
³Until now, forklift assessments were left to state authorities but it was decided to include this segment when changes were being made to the national standards,² Ms Lyhne said.
³Forklifts are regarded as high risk equipment similar to cranes.²
Under the new standard, forklift operators will be issued with licenses with photo identification, similar to a driver¹s licence.
Ms Lyhne said the cost of reassessment would be at commercial rates.
Farm Machinery Dealers Association (FMDA) president Geoff Perkins said the new law was unnecessary.
³It¹s just another impost on employers because reassessments will cost,² he said.
³Everybody is getting more safety conscious because of duty of care but this is a bit like reinventing the wheel.
³There¹s not much to driving a forklift and I can¹t understand why there has to be a national standard when we have high competency standards in WA.
³If it were such a serious matter why give a five year transition period for people to get reassessed.
³This just smacks of more bureaucracy creeping into our industry.²
Welshpool machinery dealer Fred Hopkins said he felt frustrated that he had to be reassessed for competency to drive a forklift.
³What¹s the difference between me driving a forklift in WA as opposed to Queensland?² he said.
³It¹s just more cost because I¹ll still be able to drive a forklift.²