The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is mandated to provide legal protection to workers in the workplace. This covers safe operations of powered industrial trucks (PITs), popularly known as forklifts. The complete rule set for these can be collectively found under the Materials Handling and Storage section of OSHA regulations at 29 CFR 1910.178. The following excerpt is a brief introduction to the forklift load capacity calculator.

There are many crucial numbers on the data plate, which include the rated maximum capacity as well as the load center.

Technically speaking, the maximum weight data placard on forklifts is not equivalent to the maximum capacity of load that can be practically lifted, which can be affected by many factors. The lifting capacity depends on the load center.

The meaning of the load capacity is straightforward. One should never attempt to lift more than the designated rated capacity.

The load center, on the other hand, is the center of gravity for the load. It would not be a good idea to have a center of gravity greater than this, because if the center of gravity is too far forward, the forklift can overturn. This could cause the load to fall off or even cause the forklift to fall over.

One can have a center of gravity greater than the one that is generally listed on the data plate, but this will force one to carry a lighter load. Special forklift attachments (rotators, barrel clamps, push-pull attachments, and more) can add to the smooth operation of the forklift. If the attachments are not rated for the machine, however, there are significant hazards to using these attachments. OSHA guidelines could help decide whether an attachment will affect the safe operation of the forklift. A certified attachment (and forklift), ensures the safety of the employees and the efficiency of the job done. A maximum allowable load moment should be calculated if a load crosses the threshold of 48 inches (for safety reasons), and the load center is inversely related to the load moment. The load moment is the determining factor of the overturning force applied to the machine, which is calculated by multiplying the weight of the load with the actual distance.

Deration is the technical term that is a reduction in the forklift’s lifting capacity, which is a common cause of injury on work sites. Simply speaking, a 2500 kg forklift (2.5ton forklift) may be incapable of lifting 2500 kg to the maximum possible height.