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Victoria to introduce new HRWL for telehandlers

A new high-risk work licence (HRWL) specifically for telehandlers is set to be developed and introduced by the Victorian government

The licence was approved by Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt and will be encompassed in the existing non-slewing mobile crane licence (CN licence) issued by WorkSafe Victoria.

Following the decision, telehandler operators will now have flexibility to choose between obtaining a new telehandler HRWL by completing a new telehandler-specific Unit of Competency. Alternatively, operators can choose to maintain the existing CN licence requirement.

WorkSafe Victoria will now work to develop a detailed implementation plan, including expected timelines and the process required to develop and implement the targeted HRWL for telehandler operators.

Telehandler operators will not be required to hold both licences.

The approval for the new HRWL follows years of campaigning from industry bodies such as the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), which argued the existing licence requirements had not kept up with modern farming practices.

VFF transport and infrastructure chair Ryan Milgate welcomed the decision.

“This is a great win for farmers and farm safety,” Milgate says.

“Telehandlers have become an increasingly popular method of safely moving hay on Victorian farms and it is critical regulation keeps pace with safe, modern practice.”

The growing popularity of telehandlers in the agricultural sector – 77 per cent of telehandlers were sold in that industry compared to 33 per cent in the construction sector in 2019 – caused the VFF to lobby for the change.

Under previous laws, Victoria was one of just two Australian states which required a crane licence to operator a telehandler with a capacity of three tonnes or more with forks.

As of January 2020, farmers were also required to attain a dogging licence.

WorkSafe will now work with bodies such as the VFF to develop and implement the changes and ensure training is accessible, targeted and meets the needs of telehandler operators across all industries.

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