If you are new to forklift operation and you are tasked to do heavy load lifting with your forklift, the very first question that could come into your mind is how can you tell how much weight a forklift will pick up?
You can determine the maximum load lifting capacity of the forklift you are using by checking on the data plate attached to the forklift. Here’s an article about forklift data plate you can read.
It has been specified by OSHA in their 29 CFR 1910.178(o)(2) that only loads within the load capacity of the forklift can be handled. Otherwise, you are risking the machine to tip over. Here’s an article on how to prevent tip over.
The forklift operators should never try to carry weight more than load or rated capacity indicated on the data plate. The date plate is there to remind you what the capacity is and capability the forklift can handle. You should never attempt to go beyond the numbers.
The position of the load being lifted and weight distribution – picking up and transporting loads unarranged and unevenly on the forks can affect the center of gravity. It thus minimizes how much load the forklift can pick up and carry. Remember, the farther forward the center of gravity moves, the lesser weight the forklift can handle. If you go beyond it, you are risking the forklift to tip over.
The attachment fitted to the forklift – there are many options you can choose when it comes to the attachments you can fit with your machine. It is, therefore, important for the drives to know how this affects the load capacity and center of gravity of the forklift. If you are not sure how much weight you can carry with the attachment, you can always contact the forklift manufacturer. The manufacturer can help you with the process of getting a new data plate with new specific metrics on it when you want to install an attachment.
The Lift Height – it significantly affects how much weight the forklift can lift at the certain height. Machines with high masts have a greater capacity at lower lift height than at maximum lift height. When you’re buying a forklift, the mast is an important consideration when choosing the right forklift.
Forklift operation may be an easy task to do. But without proper good practices and guidance, you are risking your safety and of others. Below are some of the best practices you should do when lifting and picking-up loads:
- Make sure the total weight of the loads being lifted and transported is within the capacity of the forklift you are using. Otherwise, you are at risk of tipping over. Tipping over is a common occurrence in the warehouse. It caused lots of bodily injuries and some cases even fatality. You should never pick up a load with weight more than the load capacity of the fork truck.
- When you intend to fit the forklift with an attachment, consult first the forklift manufacturer or the dealer. They will help you calculate the weight of the load it can carry after getting fitted with an attachment.
- If you are operating the forklift and you are tasked to lift a load that is almost the maximum load capacity and you are unsure that you can carry it, talk to your supervisor or team leader before commencing work.
- Properly arrange and organize the materials on the pallet so that it is evenly distributed on the fork. This will help distribute the load equally for safe lifting and transporting. If you are to lift an unbalanced load, ensure that the heaviest materials are against the heel of the forks.
- Observe the floor surface; look at the bump and uneven parts on the floor area. The height of the loaded forks should clear those bumps so that you can pass through without sacrificing the stability of the load.
- Use the horn when approaching on corners or exits/entrances especially when you are operating with pedestrian around. Doing so can also prevent from colliding with other forklifts operating in the area.
- Always operate within the speed limit of the workplace. Never pass the speed limit.
- Slow down when taking corners to prevent the forklift from tipping over.
- Don’t use a rotten and damaged pallet. Well obviously, it can cause the materials being lifted to collapse to the ground. If you notice that the pallet you are using is damaged and in poor condition, go get another pallet, remove the damaged one from the service.
- Check the loads carefully. It is important the materials are tilted back and sitting low while transporting to increase the stability of the forklift. The load should be properly stacked on both forks. You can use ropes if needed.
- If you are traveling with large loads and it is obstructing your forward view, travel in reverse instead. You can also ask a spotter to help you guide your travel.
- When you are on a ramp or incline, travel in reverse. Know first the load capacity of the forklift before using it, so that you will know how much load you can carry. Never exceed the number.
Knowing and understanding the load capacity and how much load the forklift can pick up and carry can diminish accident such as tip over.
It is of utmost importance for the forklift operators to know about the data plate. This is where they will see the capacity and capability the forklift can handle. They must be aware of the danger associated when exceeding the limit.
It is also always important to consult the forklift manufacturer and dealer when you want to install attachment. The dealer can help you on the specifics of installing the attachment. Don’t just install it yourself. It is a good practice to have a professional advice.