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Understand your Load Rating and Load Centres

There are a large number of forklift attachments that can be purchased to meet the needs of various applications. When attachments are used on a forklift a specific rating for that attachment is required. It is important for forklift operators to have a clear understanding of their forklifts lifting capacity and the risks associated with exceeding the rated capacity of the forklift.

What is a forklift’s rated load capacity?

Australian Standard AS2359.1:2015 clause 2.2 states ‘The rated capacity is the maximum capacity established by the manufacturer based on component strength and truck stability’. A forklift’s rated load capacity is the maximum weight in kilograms that a forklift can safely lift and transport at a specified load centre distance in millimetres. This rated load capacity is listed on the forklifts name plate or load capacity data plate.

What is a load capacity data plate?

A forklift’s load capacity data plate is a notice plate on the forklift visible to the operator from the operating position that displays the rated load capacity taking into account the lift height, mast tilt angles, tyre specifications, forklift attachments and load centre distances. Other safety information and relevant data is also listed on the load capacity data plate.

Consider the following tips to increase your forklift safety:

  1. Identify which forklift best suits your workplace’s needs, keeping in mind load capacity and safety features
  2. Provide forklift operators with the adequate training and knowledge to interpret the load capacity plates
  3. Purchase or hire forklifts with slightly larger load capacities then what is actually needed
  4. Be aware of operating conditions and your forklift load capacity and ensure that it is never exceeded
  5. Ensure that load capacity data plate is correct and readable
  6. Evaluate the safe load capacity with oversized loads
  7. Use a scale to check the weight of an object or check the marked weight of an object
  8. If the stated load centre distance is exceeded then counteract this by reducing the weight of the load accordingly.

MLA is able to assess material handling applications and provide advice regarding the safest and most efficient forklifts and attachments. Information for this article was sourced from Australian Standard 2359.1:2015

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