Forklifts are called “heavy equipment” for good reason. An unloaded standard forklift at 5,000 lbs. of rated lift capacity weighs 9,000 lbs. With a load, the forklift weight can increase to 14,000 lbs.
It’s not uncommon to see blacktop damaged by repeated forklift traffic. When carrying a maximum capacity load, a standard forklift using a set of solid rubber tires may exert as much as 350 lbs. per square inch on the front axle tires. Concrete flooring has a general load limit of 500 lbs. per square inch. (*) These numbers prove there isn’t much room for surplus capacity.
Trailer floors are another concern. Operators should be trained to be aware of these hazards and tag out the forklift:
To be confident about a floor design and the weight it can handle, consult a structural engineer. Your forklift manufacturer can also provide data on a model’s floor loading specifications.
(*) The following data is dependent on sub-structure, steel reinforcement, concrete grade and thickness. A structural engineer should always be consulted.
If you have a question on this or any topic related to safety with your forklift, give our resident expert, Dave Bennet, a call or fill out the request form.