What Keeps a Forklift From Tipping

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Forklifts are known to carry impressively heavy loads. Criminals even sometimes steal them from worksites, and then use them to steal ATMs! Forklifts have the capacity to lift and transport over 55,000 pounds, so many often wonder, what keeps a forklift from tipping over?

The Basics of Forklifts

Forklifts are designed to be able to lift a substantial amount of weight. As long as their center of gravity stays inside the wheelbase, everything will remain stable. Each individual forklift has its own load rating chart which explains the maximum loading weight and details where the center of the load should specifically be placed.

Forklifts are similar to seesaws: the further you move away from the fulcrum (the front wheels), the easier it is to tip. This not only relates to where the load is placed on the forks, but also how high the load is lifted away from the center of gravity. Forklifts are made with huge counterweights at the rear of the machine to assist in offsetting heavy front loads. Depending on the machine, some counterweights are able to be changed to account for varying load sizes.

Operating and Maintaining

As with any piece of equipment, accidents do sometimes happen. Most mistakes with forklifts are caused by poor driving, lack of maintenance, and disregard for load rating charts.

Forklifts have more length than width, which makes it easy for them to tip on their side if operated by an inexperienced driver. Forklifts are designed to make very sharp turns to deftly maneuver work sites, but sharp turns combined with speed can easily result in tipping.

Additionally, it’s important for drivers to remember that forklifts are designed to travel with loads, so there is still a risk for them to tip when they’re unloaded due to the extreme weight of the counterbalance in the back of the machine. Safe driving is imperative at all times when operating a forklift.

When operating one of these machines, be sure to keep your forklift safe by keeping it properly maintained. Any slight malfunction could increase the chances of it tipping over. Establish a regular maintenance schedule, as well as a safety checklist at the beginning of every shift.

Forklifts are modern marvels of the construction industry, but the stability of the machine is majorly dependent on the ability and knowledge of the operator. Thankfully though, if a machine does happen to tip over, operators are able to brace themselves against the seat, and forklifts are sturdy enough that they can just be picked back up again by a bigger forklift.

Crane Service, Inc. understands how each piece of equipment works. We offer forklift rentals, and operate both internally and on your worksite. To learn more about the equipment that we offer or to get trained to operate our equipment, contact us today.