Understanding your Forklift

With more forklift alternatives and attachments becoming attainable, it’s essential for the forklift operators to comprehend the forklift load capacities and dangers involved in surpassing it. Many factors influence capacity ratings of forklifts and how they suit a company’s needs. Highlighted below are things forklift operators should understand about forklifts, their load capacities, and practices that should be done to uphold safety around work areas.

Forklift load capacity
A forklift’s load capacity is the optimal weight the forklift can securely carry at a specified load center which if not precisely positioned the forklifts capacity is minimized. It can vary significantly to what is stamped on the data plate and the load size being lifted.

Load capacity data plate
A forklift data plate specifies the load a forklift can securely lift when fitted with an attachment and at different mast angles. The following information is displayed on the forklift data plate;

  • Load capacity
  • The lift height
  • Load center distance
  • Brand and Model number
  • Down rafting of lifting capacity when a mast is fitted
  • Down rafting for attachments identified on the plate

Attachments and Load Capacity
Attachments change dynamics and operating characteristics of a forklift when fitted. It’s vital to ensure the forklift attachments have both rated and de-rated capacities and that you get access to information on the de-rated capacity when attachments are fitted.

Lift Heights
Life heights and maximum fork heights influence the load capacity of a forklift. A forklift with a high mast allows operators to work with heavy loads at a lower lift height due to double capacity ratings which are reduced at maximum altitudes.

Risks and how to minimize them

Lack of knowledge on forklift load capacities poses severe risks to operators and people around them. The following are areas operators should get adequate knowledge on to reduce various risks faced;

  • Different effects of load weights, shapes, and sizes on a forklift.
  • Proper fitting of loads on forklifts.
  • Differences between the model number stamped on a forklift and the load capacity plate

How can operators reduce the risks?
Buying or hiring forklifts with slightly bigger load capacities than what is required.

  • Estimating safe load capacities for big loads to be loaded on a forklift.
  • Reducing load weights when a stated load center is exceeded.
  • Ensuring load capacity data plates are legible and fitted correctly.
  • Knowing the actual load capacity and avoid exceeding it.
  • Checking the weight stamped on an object and weighing all loads by use of scales before loading them on a forklift.
  • Working out what forklift is needed in a workplace, its capacity and safety features.

For a safer workplace, it’s essential to understand all risks that can arise from exceeding the load capacity of a forklift. Training operators on how to use the forklift data plate other than assuming it’s load capacity is important.