Forklift Operators, Remember to Respect the Forklift Load Capacity

As more forklift options and attachments become available, it is increasingly important for forklift operators to have a clear understanding of their forklift’s load capacity and the risks involved if exceeding it. Considering the fact that tip-overs are the most common cause of forklift fatalities, it is crucial to train operators to judge the stability of the load.

Load capacity is the manufacturer’s guideline for how much weight a forklift can safety lift. Forklift operators determine the lift truck’s maximum capacity by checking the OSHA required nameplate (also called data plate) attached to the truck. The nameplate specifies the load each forklift can safely lift at different mast angles or when it is fitted with additional attachments.

Exceeding the capacity of a forklift presents serious hazards, including tipping. If the rear wheels rise when the load starts to lift, it’s too heavy. If this happens, immediately set down the load. A change of lift equipment or reduced load is required.

Workers with inadequate knowledge of a forklift’s load capacity are placing themselves and those around them at serious risk. Make sure every operator knows how to properly read the nameplate and to understand what the information means.