/Why do I need a Gold Card?

Why do I need a Gold Card?

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Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (harmonised in all States and Territories except WA and Victoria, where similar requirements exist) state:

  1. This clause applies for the purposes of section 19 of the Act to a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU).
  2. The person must ensure that information, training and instruction provided to a worker is suitable and adequate having regard to:
  3. a) the nature of the work carried out by the worker, and
  4. b) the nature of the risks associated with the work at the time the information, training or instruction is provided, and
  5. c) the control measures implemented.

Maximum penalty: (a) in the case of an individual—$6,000, or (b) in the case of a body corporate—$30,000.

  1. The person must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the information, training and instruction provided under this clause is provided in a way that is readily understandable by any person to whom it is provided.

Maximum penalty: (a) in the case of an individual—$6,000, or (b) in the case of a body corporate—$30,000.

Division 1 Information, training and instruction Clause 39 Provision of information, training and instruction

Whilst the exact wording in the harmonised WHS Regulations is not the same in the Victorian or WA OHS/OSH Acts and Regulations, the concepts of duty of care and managing the risks of operating plant is stated in a similar context. Refer to:

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) Part 3, Division 1, Section 20 & 21

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic) Part 3.5, Division 5, Subdivision 4, Clause 122 & 123

Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) Part III, Division 2, Section 19

Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (WA) Part 4, Division 3

What this means is that there needs to be some form of proof that the operator has been trained in the safe use of a telehandler (TSH).  Verbal instruction is not an effective method of training as it lacks written proof of competency evidence. The TSH Operator Training Program or ‘Gold Card’ is the result of the TSHA helping the industry to comply with the WHS/OHS/OSH Acts and Regulations.


Telescopic Materials Handler definition

A telescopic materials handler or telehandler, is a mobile all terrain multi-purpose machine fitted with a variable height/reach telescopic boom and a lifting attachment. The most common attachments are forks, but telehandlers can be fitted with a variety of attachments for different types of load shifting.

Other common attachment combinations are:

  • Crane jibs
  • Earthmoving buckets
  • Work Platforms

As a telehandler can be used with different attachment combinations, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation as to what type of training or licensing is required.

The WHS/OHS regulators in each state have generally agreed that a telehandler is classified as a non-slewing mobile crane when they have a lifting capacity of over 3 tonnes and are fitted with a crane jib lifting attachment.

To operate a telehandler in this configuration, you must hold a High Risk Work Licence (CN Class or above)

To operate a telehandler with a slewing capability, you must hold a High Risk Work Licence (C2 class or above) regardless of the lifting capacity or attachment in use.

If the telehandler has a work platform attachment and a boom length exceeding 11m, then an operator must also hold a WP class HRW licence.

On the TSHA website there is a licencing and training requirements matrix which includes all states and territories you can access this document here.


Forklifts and Telehandlers have very different operating capabilities, limitations and characteristics.

They are also classified under different Australian Standards (Forklifts AS 2359:2-2013 Powered Industrial Trucks/ Telehandlers AS 1418.19 – Cranes, hoists and winches – Telescopic handlers).

Forks are just one type of attachment on a telehandler. Having a forklift licence (and experience) will be useful if you are picking up and dropping off pallets, but inexperienced/untrained telehandler operators are not mindful of the interaction that boom angle, boom extension, load weight and longitudinal and lateral slope can have on the stability of the telehandler.


A regular question asked of the association is ‘Why do I need a gold card when my State WHS/OHS regulator has just told me that I do not need to have a high risk work licence to operate a Telehandler?’

Our response is that answer is partially correct IF the telehandler and attachment type in use does not fall under the HRW licencing requirements listed above.

The Gold Training program fills the gap where you are operating a telehandler and attachment combination that does not require a HRW Licence, but you still need to comply with the WHS Regulation provisions noted at the beginning of this document.

The Gold Card is not a High Risk Work licence. The Gold Card is evidence that the holder has successfully completed a structured industry training program.


The TSH Operator Gold Card is proof of completion on one or more attachment types (modules) when operating a Telehandler. There are 4 different TSH attachment training modules.

The attachment modules include:

  • Forks F
  • Crane Jib J
  • Earthmoving bucket B
  • Other (for any other type of O

attachment such a bale grabs,

work platforms, sweepers etc)

The TSHA Gold Card industry training program was developed by the TSHA in consultation with members and industry. The intention of this program is to assist operators, employers, equipment owners and manufacturers to comply with the OHS / WHS & regulation and promote safe use of TSH’s.

  • The ‘Gold Card’ provides evidence that the operators of TSH’s with specific attachment types have been trained in the safe use of, and are aware of the risks when operating them.
  • The supplier, PCBU and operator all have documentary evidence of the information, training and instruction provided. This can be verified on the TSHA website via a Licence Number Lookup feature, and via a QR Code on the back of the card.


The TSHA Gold Card is the Association’s method of meeting industry needs for TSH Operator training.  However, other methods can be used.  Such methods include having in-house training schemes or user specific programs. The key elements that any methods need to include are a structured training format delivered by a suitably qualified trainer/assessor and the training content should meet or exceed the Australian Standard 1418.19 and manufacturers’ safe operating procedures. The training outcomes are to be documented and a certificate of participation or proof of training issued.


The ‘do nothing’ approach is a time bomb. A blatant disregard of the law (the Act is law) will result in hefty fines and or jail. We all have a responsibility for workplace health and safety.

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