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Forklift Floor and Operating Surfaces

Hazards & Safety

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:

  • Light coming through the boards
  • Dry rotted or cracked floors
  • Floor repairs (i.e., bolted steel plates)


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.

Have a Forklift and need information about the model’s floor loading specifications? Call Thompson & Johnson today to speak to an equipment specialist or fill out a Customer Request Email Form above! 

Got Questions?

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.