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KEYLIFT FORKLIFT TRUCK TRAINING Professional Fork Lift Truck Training

What Weight Can A Forklift Truck Carry

On machines that carries objects you’ve got to have, by Law, some form of capacity plate. This plate tells you what weight can a forklift truck carry. The location of the capacity plate is usually near the drivers seat to allow the operator to easily to identify weight the forklift can carry

On a forklift truck there are 3 main pieces of information on the capacity plate you need to understand.

1 – Weight Limit (SWL)

This one is self explanatory.  It’s the amount, usually in kilograms, the truck can safely lift.

2 – Height

Another easy one. This is the height, usually in millimetres, the mast can safely extend to.

3 – Load Centre

This is the one that even forklift operators struggle with. so we know what weight can a forklift truck can carry, now we need to understand load centres. The load centre is the distance, usually in millimetres, measured from the front face of the forks (the heels) to the centre of gravity of the load (see diagram)

The importance of this figure is massive as it will vastly reduce or increase what you can lift.

Simplified Example of a Load Centre

If we use an example of a person in a gym. Let’s say that person picked up a heavy weight and held it while stood up near their chest. We can replicate a load centre on a human by saying the load centre is the distance from the person chest to the weight in their hands.

Now if you increase that distance by extending the arms so they are away from the chest, straight out in from of you, what happens. Your body starts to give and the weight suddenly feels very heavy. The weight hasn’t physically got any heavier but it will certainly feel that way due to the load centre being increased. It has the same effect on the forklift truck.

Capacity Plate Layout

An example of a capacity plate on a forklift will look something like this.

Load Centre



From the example above, the capacity plate is stating the when the distance from the heels off the lift truck to the centre of gravity of the load is 500mm you can lift a weight of 1800kg (1.8 tonne) to a height of 3700mm (3.7 metres).

How Do We Find Out The Weight Of The Load?

Once we know what our truck is capable of safely lifting we now need to calculate the weight of the load. Below are the 3 main options you have when identifying the weight of a load.

1 – Weight stated on the delivery notes
2 – Ask the driver who delivered the load
3 – If all these options fail a quick weight assessment can be carried out.

Capacity Plate

When carrying out a weight assessment the easiest way is to identify what one item weight weighs (If this is not possible, overestimate the weight of one item) Then times that weight by how many items are on a layer. Then times this number by how many layers on the pallet.
Remember to add 40kg for the weight of a standard pallet and any additional packaging.

What’s The Difference Between Net Weight And Gross Weight?

Net weight is the weight of the PRODUCT ONLY.
Gross weight is the weight of the product, packaging, pallet and anything else on the load.

You as a forklift truck operator need to be looking at the gross weight when referring to your capacity plate.

We hope this clears things up for you. However if you wound like to discuss anything further please do not hesitate to get in touch with Keylift Forklift And Safety Training.

Remember to operate the forklift truck at a safe speed at all times and keep safe while operating a forklift.

Bye for now.

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