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Forklift Trucks - Load Handling

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

  • Use the proper lift fixture or attachment for special loads (such as carpet spike or drum grappler).
  • 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
  • If the load is unbalanced (by it's characteristics), keep the heavier end closer to the front wheels. Tilt the mast back.
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.

Document last updated on February 18, 2019

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.