Lift Truck Plate Capacity
As more forklift attachments and other options become available, forklift drivers need a comprehensive understanding of their load capacity and the risks of exceeding it. Forklift operators should understand load capacity and best practices to maintain safety on the job.
What is plate capacity?
A forklifts load capacity is the maximum weight it is able to safely carry at a specific load center. The load capacity will be reduced to a degree directly proportional to the deviation from the center. Plate capacity is the operational limits of the lift truck as displayed on the nameplate.
Plate capacity specifies the load that a forklift can lift safely at varying mast angles or when the vehicle is fitted with a given attachment. It should display; brand and model number, load capacity, lift height, load center distance.
It should also display:
- Lifting capacity down rating if a mast is fitted
- Down rating for select attachments identified on the name plate
Attachments & Load Capacity
If an attachment is fitted, the dynamics and operating characteristics of the forklift will be altered. Attachments must have rated capacities and de-rated capacities. Be sure you have access to this information anytime an attachment is fitted.
The load capacity of a forklift will be affected significantly by lift height and maximum fork height. High mast forklifts have greater carrying capacities at lower heights than they do at maximum lift heights. That means high mast forklifts may offer a dual capacity rating at the max lift height, making it possible for the operator to move heavier loads at reduced heights.
Workers who do not understand a forklifts load capacity are at serious risk. Operators should know the following:
- The effects of load weight, load shape, and size
- The correct way to fix a given load type
- The difference between model number and load capacity as listed on the name plate
8 Quick Tips
- Commission forklifts with a slightly greater load capacity than what is needed
- Estimate safe load capacity for over-sized loads
- If the load center is exceeded, counteract it by reducing the load
- Ensure the data plate is legible, fitted and accurate
- Never exceed the capacity of your forklift
- Note the marked weight of an object, or use a scale to weigh it
- Train operators to review the capacity data plate
- Decide what forklift is needed on the job, its capacity, and safety specifications
Understanding the load capacity of your lift truck will determine the level of safety practicable in your workplace, so it is important to be sure you and your workers know the risks associated with exceeding a forklifts load capacity.