Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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How should you load the forklift truck?

  • Do not exceed the recommended load limit of your lift truck. Each lift truck has a maximum load limit. The load limit is shown on the data plate of the lift truck.
Load limit
  • Position the load according to the recommended load centre. The load limit of the lift truck decreases as the load centre is raised.
  • Do not add extra weight to counterbalance an overload.
  • Keep loads close to the front wheels to keep lift truck stable
Load Centre

How should you insert the fork when loading the forklift truck?

  • Keep the mast of the forklift in an upright position before inserting the forks into a pallet.
  • Level the fork before inserting it into the pallet.
  • Insert the fork all the way under the load (use forks that are at least two-thirds of the load length).
  • Adjust the fork as wide as possible to fit the load and to provide a more even distribution of weight.
  • Space the fork evenly from the centre stringer of the pallet to balance the load.
  • Do not protrude the fork past the back of a pallet when stacking in tight areas.
Space forks as widely as possible
  • Ensure that the load is secured before moving. If it is not, pile the load again or strap the load to skid.
  • Ensure that loads on pallets are stable, neat, cross-tied if possible, and evenly distributed.
  • Remove damaged pallets from service.
Check the load

How should you raise the load?

When a load is raised, the lift truck is less stable.

  • Check that the overhead clearance is adequate before raising loads.
  • Do not raise or lower the fork unless the lift truck is stopped and braked.
  • Lift loads straight up or tilt back slightly.
  • Do not lift a load that extends above the load backrest unless no part of the load can possibly slide back toward the operator.
  • Attend the controls of the forklift truck when a load is elevated. In other words, the operator must stay on the forklift when the load is in a raised position.
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Document last updated on June 7, 2013

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