Understanding Forklift Stability Triangle and The Importance of Center Gravity

August 24, 2022 - Last modified: September 2, 2022 @ 3:07 pm

Forklift Stability Triangle Chart

Suppose you're new to driving a forklift or recently rented one for a specific purpose. In that case, you may have heard the phrases "forklift center of gravity" or "forklift stability triangle" being tossed around. Of course, keeping your forklift stabilized and centered is one of the essential parts of driving this machine, but how can you make sure your load is safe?

Forklifts are unique in that they carry their entire load on the front end, and this load must be balanced with the back end so you don't tip over. Master your understanding of this concept by reading through our guide below.

What Is the Forklift Stability Triangle?

The forklift stability triangle refers to the three-point suspension that all forklifts have. If you look at a forklift from overhead, you'd see a triangle — the three suspension points — between the two load wheels (the front, weight-bearing wheels) and the back of your forklift.

Imagine placing three points on your forklift: one on the first load wheel, one on the second load wheel, and one halfway between the two rear wheels in the back of the forklift. After connecting all of these points, you'd have a triangle. In the middle of this triangle is the forklift's center of gravity — the point that the driver needs to pay attention to so that the forklift does not fall over from too heavy of a load.

Does the Forklift Stability Triangle Apply to All Forklifts?

Yes. Any vehicle driver with a load-bearing platform or fork on the front end should operate with this rule. However, the load must be within the center of gravity or the triangle if you want a safe drive. If the heaviness of the load pushes the center of gravity out of the triangle, you're risking your safety and balance.

More Stability Tips for New Forklift Drivers

New forklift drivers often don't have time to ask questions or locate resources to ensure maximum safety while driving. Take the following points into consideration after you've ensured your forklift stability triangle:

  • Check your forklift before every workday to ensure there are no leaks, fork malfunctions, or mechanical issues.
  • Use the proper attachments for the load you're carrying, and don't add more weight (on any part of the forklift) than you should.
  • If you feel you've been asked to drive with a load that you suspect is too risky for your forklift's center of gravity, speak up! It's much better to be safe than sorry when operating heavy machinery.

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