The principles of forklift safety are easily broken down, and easily conveyed to others. The real difficulty it would seem is convincing companies how important doing that is for the safety of their employees or at least their own bottom line. It’s often reported that less than half the forklift drivers are trained properly.

I’m going to just quickly touch on a very basic points seen in any lift truck training class. And could be part of YOUR lift truck training for your employees.

Lift Truck Stability:
A forklift works the same way a teeter totter does. The weight of the truck itself counterbalances the load it’s moving. You need to understand three principles, center of gravity, load center, and the stability triangle.

Center of gravity:
The place where an object will balance on a single point, not always is this in the middle of an object. Shape of the object can change the position of the center of gravity. When eying up your load, work to understand where its center of gravity is, and center that point directly over your forks.

Load center:
From the front of the forks on the lift truck to the “center of gravity” of your load. Remember, if you move your load away from the front face of the forks, you impact the your trucks capacity.

Stability triangle:
Perhaps over simplified, a lift truck has three points of suspension where the stability triangle is formed. Unloaded the truck’s center of gravity is generally under the driver, loaded that center of balance shifts outward towards the edge of the units triangle. It’s this point that requires great understanding by the driver. There is a good piece on it at that does a nice job of explaining it visually.

The principles of lift truck usage are simple, but extremely important to safety and productivity. The value of communicating this information to yourself or your employees cannot always be measured, the consequences however too often are after simple accidents or certainly after tragedy.

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