Exceeding Forklift Capacity: Pros and Cons
Have you ever been tempted to exceed a forklift’s capacity? Even by just a little bit? In this article we look at the pros and cons of exceeding forklift capacity.
PROs: You ‘might’ move more product. (Then again, you might not.)
CONs: And here are the reasons why you might not move more product.
- Tip Over - The maximum capacity of a forklift does provide a safety cushion against tip over, but does that mean you can’t tip over as long as you don’t exceed the maximum capacity? No. Factors combine. Carrying a load that’s close to the equipment’s capacity combined with a shifting load (or braking too quickly or operating on a slope or getting hit by a crosswind) can tip you over. And the risk of injury increases greatly if you are not wearing your seat belt.
- Spilled Loads - Starting to tip usually means spilling your load. In addition to the damage caused to the load, it can also endanger other workers and property.
- Forklift Damage - Exceeding the capacity of the forklift accelerates metal fatigue in several parts of the forklift including the chains, forks, and the king pin by the rear axle. Look at the spacing between the links in the photo on the right. See the difference? The left chain (red arrow) was routinely exposed to loads greater than the rated capacity. The resulting stretch weakens the links and they are more likely to break. Metal fatigue on a fork usually occurs in the heel of the fork which will can cause your fork to fail. The king pin by the rear axle can break if the back wheels are repeatedly lifted off the ground and slam back down.
As a forklift operator you have to make a lot of decisions, but exceeding the capacity shouldn’t be one of them.
If you would like to share your experiences/photos of forklift incidents that can educate others on the principles of safe forklift operation please send them to: bhulberg@D2000safety.com
We will not publish company or individuals names.
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