When loading a forklift, it is essential you ensure you are not ‘overloading’ it as this can result in an extremely dangerous situation. Over 100,000 injuries are incurred by the incorrect use of a forklift and an astounding 100 deaths are reported every year in the US through incorrect forklift use.
In many cases overloading forklifts are the main contributors to these accidents and sadly most of these accidents and injuries could be avoidable if the operators would calculate the load capacity of their machines before use.
ONE – Locate the data plate
The date plate should be located before use and can usually be found on the hood of the machine, which is just beside the operator’s seat. You should make sure you look for a rectangular plate that is covered with numbers that will present the weight limits and different heights; this is where you can locate the data in order to calculate its load and height capacities. For safety reasons the date cannot and should not ever be removed or altered for any reason.
TWO – The load centre
Before lifting the load on your forklift, first determine the load centre of the materials you are attempting to lift. The capacity will change as the load is raised or the forks have been tilted forward. The further the load centre from the back rest, the lower that your lifting capacity will be. Remember never to exceed the capacity limits; you can always see the chart on the data plate for reference showing the various load centres and various heights.
THREE – COG
You should understand the stability triangle of the forklift, you will be able to form this triangle by drawing a line between the front wheels. Then, from the end of those lines you should be able to draw a line to the centre of the back axle. This is known as the stability triangle.
When the forklift is empty the ‘centre of gravity’ also known as COG, will be located in this triangle nearer the rear end of the axle. As the load is lifted, the COG moves forward as the forklift turns right or left.
If in any situation, the COG goes outside of the triangle the machine will overturn so this is a good indicator of load on your forklift.
Make sure you are also fully trained or apply for forklift training before operating one of these machines.