Australian Forklift Training observe that when a forklift tips forward, the back wheels keep lifting off the ground until either the forks hit the ground or the load falls off.
The higher that the forks are off the ground, the further the forklift will tip until it comes to a sudden stop. If it tips forward and the load falls off, the back wheel will come crashing back down to the ground.
Following are the common causes of a forklift tipping over forward (lengthways):
- Severe braking
- Tilting the mast forward with a raised load
- Load not positioned against the heel of the fork arms
- Lifting loads that have a longer load centre than specified on the forklifts’ data plate
- Operating on a sloping surface
One of the causes of a forklift tipping lengthways is from the forklift operator trying to lift a load that is heavier than the forklift is specified to carry, or one that has a longer load centre than specified.
All forklifts have a load data plate mounted that is clearly visible to the forklift operator. The data plate says exactly how much weight the forklift is allowed to lift along with the maximum load centre that the load is allowed to have.
In Australia, all forklifts are rated with a 600mm load centre, which means that they can only lift the weight specified if the load is not longer than an evenly stacked 1200mm x 1200mm pallet. As soon as the load centre is lengthened, the amount of weight that the forklift can lift is reduced.
Forklift operators should know exactly how much each forklift can safely lift and ensure that the load is within the maximum weight and load centre before attempting to pick it up. If the load appears large or heavy and they are unsure of the weight, they should take the necessary precautions to find out.
Forklift operators can find out the weight of loads by checking delivery dockets and con notes, calculation or checking the load for any weight markings. If the load is outside of the forklifts specifications, it needs to be broken down onto two pallets instead of one or alternatively, a larger forklift will be needed.