Forklift Stability: 3 Concepts All Operators Need to Understand

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Forklift Stability: 3 Concepts All Operators Need to Understand

6 July 2017
 Categories: , Blog


Forklift instability is one the leading causes of accidents relating to these lift vehicles. Trainers therefore emphasise the importance of making sure that the forklift is stable at all times when one is operating it. This article discusses three key concepts that impact on the stability of a forklift.

The Fulcrum Point

The fulcrum point on a forklift are the front wheels. Those wheels act as a support to keep any load that is being carried stable. Thus, the further the load is from those wheels, the more unstable that forklift will become. Compare this fulcrum point to the beam on a seesaw; the center-point of that beam marks the fulcrum point. The furthest loads from that center-point will go highest due to their instability. You should therefore make sure that loads are as close to the front wheels as possible when you operate a forklift.

The Stability Triangle

The stability triangle refers to an imaginary triangle that can be drawn using imaginary lines coming from the front wheels of the forklift to the center axle. The forklift is at its most stable state if its center of gravity falls within this stability triangle. You can ensure that the center of gravity of your forklift is within this triangle by lowering the forks carrying the load as much as possible so that the load is close to the forklift's base. It will then be very hard for that forklift to tip over.

The Load Center

The third concept that forklift-operator trainees need to know is the load center. This is the distance from the load's center to the center of the forks' front face. The further the load center, the less weight the forklift can carry before it becomes unstable. The simplest way to grasp this concept is that one should be wary of lifting loads that extend significantly beyond the reach of the forks. In other words, almost half of the load should be resting on the forks if you want to keep that load and the forklift stable.

Each of the concepts above is discussed in detail so that every trainee grasps how the stability of the forklift will be affected by any change in one of those stability factors. It is therefore important for you to enroll at a reputable forklift training facility so that you can fully understand how to keep your forklift stable during your career as a forklift operator.