Event Information

Forklift Operator of the Year

The Forklift Operator of the Year returns in 2024!

Brisbane Markets Limited (BML), in conjunction with Brismark, Toyota Material Handling, TDDA and SBP Australia, will once again conducts the search for this site’s safest and most efficient forklift operator.

As in years past, the competition will run over a number of weeks, where all participants will be scored on their safe work practices.  The top ten operators will then compete over a timed, practical course for a share in the $5,000 prize money

How it works

Round 1: Thursday, 29 August to Thursday, 12 September 2024

The event is open to all Tenants and Tenant employees who hold a valid Brisbane Markets Forklift Operator Permit (FOP).

It is a condition of entry that FOP holders have not received any “refer to management” safety notices from Brisbane Markets Limited.

Round 2: OBSERVATION PERIOD: Thursday, 19 September to Thursday, 17 October 2024

All registered contestants are provided with forklift magnets for the observation period.  Each entrant will be allocated a number for identification purposes.

Market Officers, WHSQ Inspectors and unidentified judges will observe and score the contestants during the observation period.

Contestants will lose or gain points depending on how well they comply with the Forklift Operating Rules as detailed in the Brisbane Markets Regulations.


The contestants with the top 10 highest scores from the observation round will be invited to participate in a timed, practical course designed to test their forklift operating skills. Contestants will be assessed by a panel of judges.


FIRST Prize – Trophy and $3,000 CASH*

SECOND Prize – Trophy and $1,500 CASH*

THIRD Prize – Trophy and $500 CASH*

*This amount will be transferred into a bank account of the winner’s choice.

Grand final to be held in October

The Brisbane Produce Market hosts the Forklift Operator of the Year event each year, with this year’s grand final event to be held in October as part of the Brisbane Markets Safety Month activities.

Over 4,500 people working or doing business at the Brisbane Markets site daily, the Brisbane Produce Market has the highest concentration of forklift operators in Queensland, so promoting a positive safety culture is one of our main priorities.

Nobody likes to be constantly pulled up for doing the wrong thing. To promote safe work of this this, we have implemented the Forklift Operator of the Year event as a way to reward forklift operators who do the right thing and take a proactive approach to managing safety in the way they conduct their daily work activities.

The event runs over several weeks. Forklift operators are nominated and then enter into an observation round where their safe work practices are assessed by Market Officers, Operations senior staff, Brismark staff, Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) Representatives and members of our Advisory Committees. Because the observation period runs over several weeks, the event works to influence safety culture over an extended period, rather than just on the grand final day.

The results of the observation round are tallied and the top ten finalists then compete over a competency course which tests their skills under safety, time and procedural requirements.

Proudly Hosted By

In Association With

Rizzolo takes the title of the 2023 Forklift Operator of the Year

A new Forklift Operator of the Year has been crowned after a tightly contested grand final at the Brisbane Produce Market on Tuesday, 24 October, with Aaron Rizzolo from John Potter taking the coveted title.

The event saw the top ten contestants battle it out over a timed, practical course, losing precious seconds for every error they made.

In a close contest that came down to the wire, Rizzolo took out the top prize of $3,000, with a spectacular final time of 2 minutes and 19 seconds. Nathan Heskett from Shamrock Marketing came second with a time of 2 minutes and 27 seconds, scoring $1,500 for his efforts, narrowly beating Amanda Blume from Franklin Bros who took the $500 prize money with a time of 2 minutes and 28 seconds.

This was Rizzolo’s second go in the grand final, having made the top ten in 2018.

“I didn’t have any expectations coming into the race, I just knew I had to be faster than my last attempt. I pushed through the nerves and was happy with my time,” Rizzolo said.

“Now, I’m feeling a bit giddy! Can’t believe I actually won it!”

The event is hosted by Brisbane Markets Limited (BML), with the support of event sponsors Toyota Material Handling, The Drug Detection Agency, SBP Australia, and Brismark.

Brisbane Markets is home to 381 registered forklifts with 961 forklift operator permits active on site, according to BML Director and Brisbane Produce Market wholesaler, Stephen Edwards.

“The Forklift Operator of the Year competition is a great way to recognise the hard, often overlooked, work that our forklift operators do at this site. They are really put to the test during this competition and the top three really are the cream of the crop,” Mr Edwards said.

After competing in a month-long observation period, where they were scored on their adherence to safety and traffic rules on the Brisbane Markets site, the entrants are narrowed down to the top 10 who competed in the grand final obstacle course in front of the crowd that gathered within the Brisbane Produce Market to watch the spectacle.

According to Rizzolo, the event builds camaraderie amongst the site’s forklift operators and encouraged other forklift operators to get involved.

“It really is a unique experience. It’s good fun and all you need to do to compete is what you do every day on the job anyway,” he said.


Contact BML’s Communications Department on (07) 3915 4349 or email via the button below.