As a trained forklift driver you should be aware of your truck’s lifting capacity. This information can be found on the load plate / capacity plate of your truck. You should also be able to work out your truck’s capacity using different load centres.
Load centre refers to the centre of gravity of the load you are picking up. If your load is heavier on one side, then you need to pick the load up from the heavier side.
To work out the safe lifting capacity of your truck when picking up a load with a longer load centre the basic rule is if you double the load centre distance you will halve the truck’s maximum safe lifting capacity.
To work out different load centres and lifting capacities you need to do a simple calculation:
Take your maximum lifting capacity and minimum load centre from the load plate of the truck:
Eg, 1500 kg @ 500mm load centre
Multiply these two figures:
Divide the figure by the new, longer load centre
750,000 ÷ 600
= 1,250 kg
This figure is the reduced safe lifting capacity of your truck when picking up a load with a 600 mm load centre. This can simply be the difference between picking up a load on a standard pallet on the narrow face rather than the wide face.
If the load you are picking up is on a standard pallet, ie, 1.2 metre x 1 metre and assuming the load is evenly stacked across the pallet, if you pick up the pallet, with the wide face touching the heel of the forks, this will give you a load centre distance of 500 mm (half the width of the pallet). If you pick up the pallet with the narrow face to the heel of the forks this will give you a 600 mm load centre (half the length of the pallet). Most counterbalance forklift trucks have a standard working load centre distance of 500 mm. Reach trucks usually have a standard working load centre of 600 mm.
It is unusual within the Logistics Industry to have more than 1200 kgs on a standard pallet but you need to be aware of unusual loads or, of course, double stacked loads and be aware of your truck’s maximum lifting capacity at the correct load centre. Most loads will be marked with a weight so you have an idea of the weight you are picking up.