One of the main causes of forklift accidents is the misuse or ignorance of a forklift truck’s weight limit and its capacity. By making your workforce of forklift drivers aware of how to discover and calculate these figures and what additional elements may affect them you are providing them with an invaluable preventative tool for the future. Let’s take a quick refresher course as to what exactly constitutes a forklift weight limit or capacity, and what can affect these figures.
Forklift Load Capacity
This is quite simply the maximum weight which a forklift can carry safely, and this information can be found on the load capacity data plate. You should never exceed this load under any circumstances whatsoever, but there are additional considerations to be made based on what you are carrying and how you are carrying it.
Forklift Load Centre
Load centre is one of the main things which effects how much your forklift can carry, and this information can once again be found on your load capacity data plate. This figure instructs you on the maximum size of your load’s centre of gravity and should not be exceeded as it can cause your forklift to tip. If a large centre of gravity cannot be avoided you may still carry the load, but a new load capacity must be calculated. See our guide here for more information on how to do this.
The use of an attachment to your forklift may alter both your load capacity and load centre, so you should make sure you have access to this information when and take it into account when calculating your maximum load capacity and load centre. Avoid using attachments which do not provide this information, as the resulting difference to your load capacity and load centre can be wildly unpredictable.
Generally speaking a forklift truck with a high mast will have a data plate containing two different load capacities; one for a low height and one for its maximum carrying height. This allows an operator to use a single truck for both low-level heavy loads and high-level lighter loads, and your drivers should be made fully aware of how dangerous it is to test these limits.
If every forklift truck driver was made aware of and adhered to each load capacity and load centre as stated on their equipment load plate, then the number of serious accidents would be reduced dramatically, and the costs of these incidents would be avoided. In order to assist your drivers warehouse owners should supply forklifts with slightly larger capacities than what is required, and ensure that drivers are given adequate time to make informed decisions on how to operate their forklift truck safely and efficiently.