13 22 54

Knowing your Forklifts Load Capacity

Filed under: Safety

As more forklift options and attachments become available, it is increasingly important for forklift operators to have a clear understanding of their forklifts load capacity and the risks that are involved in exceeding it. This week’s blog will highlight what forklift operators should know regarding a forklifts load capacity and practices that should be in place in order to maintain safety around the workplace.

Hyster Forklift

What is a forklift load capacity?

A forklifts load capacity is determined as the maximum weight that a forklift is able to safely carry at a specified load centre. If the load is not centred at the precise position then the forklifts capacity will therefore be reduced. 

What is a load capacity data plate?

The load capacity data plate specifies the load each forklift can safely lift at different mast angles or when it is fitted with an attachment. The plate should display; the load capacity, lift height, load centre distance, brand and model number. The plate should also display:

• Down rating of lifting capacity if a mast is fitted
• Down rating for specific attachments that are identified on the capacity plate

Forklift load capacity plate

Attachments and Load Capacity

If an attachment is fitted to the forklift then there is the potential that the dynamic and operating characteristics of the forklift will change. It is important for attachments to have rated capacities as well as de-rated capacities. Ensure you have access to information regarding the de-rated capacity of the forklift when an attachment is fitted.

Lift Heights

A forklifts load carrying capacity is significantly affected by lift height or maximum fork height. Forklifts with high masts have a greater carrying capacity at lower lift heights than at maximum lift heights, therefore, forklifts with high masts may have a dual capacity rating at the maximum lift height, allowing the forklift operator to work with heavier loads at low heights.

Hyster forklift


Workers with an inadequate knowledge of a forklifts load capacity are placing themselves and those around them at serious risk. Forklift operators should be aware of the following:

• The effects of a loads weight, shape and size on a forklift
• The correct way that a load should be fitted
• The difference between the model number on the forklift and the forklifts load capacity plate

8 Quick Tips

1. Buy or hire forklifts with a slightly bigger load capacity than what is actually needed

2. Estimate the safe load capacity with oversized loads

3. If the stated load centre is exceeded then counteract this by reducing the weight of the load

4. Ensure that the load capacity data plate is legible, fitted and correct

5. Know the capacity of your forklift and never exceed it

6. Check the marked weight of an object, alternatively use a scale to weigh loads

7. Train operators to use the load capacity plate other than assuming the forklifts load capacity

8. Work out what forklift is needed within your workplace, along with its capacity and safety features

Forklift training

Knowing and understanding your forklifts load capacity will determine the level of safety within your workplace, therefore it is important to ensure you and your workers are aware of the risks associated with exceeding a forklifts load capacity.


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Previous entry: Forklifts vs. Automated Guided Vehicles


Good day. We have some old forklifts that have no capacity plates attached. How do I go about getting new ones?   

Les Osborne
October 29, 2014 - 2:38 am

Hi Les,

Apologies for the delay.

What brand are they? Best thing to do would be to contact the nearest local dealer, or your nearest forklift company may be able to help you out.

AAL Admin
November 13, 2014 - 9:45 am

Sorry, I was expecting an answer at my e-mail address. We have 2 Hyster models.
H80XL - serial number - F005A03552H
S60XM - serial number - D18V11604

Les Osborne
January 16, 2015 - 6:41 am

Hi Les,

Looks like you might be in the US/Canada? We are based in Australia, so best thing would be to contact your nearest Hyster dealer:

AAL Admin
January 20, 2015 - 2:58 pm

      Can a forklift lift weight the same as the load it’s lifting

September 11, 2015 - 2:07 am

Hi Jasmine,
No, a forklift acts as a counterweight to the load you are lifting, so the load must not weigh the same as the weight of the forklift.

For example, our Hyster H1.5TX can lift 1,500kg but weighs about 2,695kg.

AAL Admin
September 15, 2015 - 10:19 am

Good Day,
I would like to know what size forklift would I require to lift 6.1ton. The size of the crate is ± 5m long x 2.4m wide x 4m high

Kind regards

Clive C Cooper

Clive Cecil Cooper
October 16, 2015 - 6:10 am


looking at purchasing a forklift but most of the information on the data plate is crossed (X) out. What would that mean?


December 03, 2015 - 6:49 pm

      Hi I operate a 7 tone forklift at work and the solid wheels are down to the limit I get no grip I have reported the problem.what is the minimum tred size                  

December 05, 2015 - 2:34 am

        If the forklift capacity is 1.5 tonn how much height and load centre can carry at each heights. How this is calculated.

December 15, 2015 - 12:13 pm

      For example, our Hyster H1.5TX can lift 1,500kg but weighs about 2,695kg. ??

at 500 or 600 mm load centre ?

kev daly
February 16, 2016 - 4:41 pm

Hi Kev,
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. That is at 500mm load centre.

You can download a brochure on the XT (our update of the TX) here:

AAL Admin
March 11, 2016 - 11:40 am

          I need to lift a 10 ton machine to the first floor which size or weight forklift would i need? Thanks in advance!             

Monica Howell
July 02, 2016 - 6:46 am

How do I go about obtaining a data plate for a S55xm Hyster/GAS                    

August 05, 2016 - 7:26 am

Hi, we have a 2.5t forklift at work with front pnematic tyres pumped to 95psi but their actual diameters differ by up to an inch, (659mm and 632mm) as a result of uneven tread loss. What is the spec. for this area please?

August 16, 2016 - 3:05 pm

Again a great article

Agree with your word and always make sure operators use the load capacity and Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act.

Gary Pope
August 23, 2016 - 8:24 pm

Hi , I have a Toyota FLT counterbalance rated at 2.5t load centre of 500mm , can you please advise the maximum weight it could lift at 1.3m high and 3.7m high and also at it’s maximum height of 5m


darren morris
September 13, 2016 - 5:41 pm

Dear sir,
Would you please inform me about the relationship between loading and life of a forklift ?   
In other words how we may damage a forklift if loading it to its maximum capacity or some times even more ? I am not interested in accidents or hazards of this issue but only the rate of damage and perhaps decreased life of the forklift only.
Thanks for your attention and help

September 18, 2016 - 12:03 am

Hi Darren,

We recommend you contact the OEM regarding your capacity question.

AAL Admin
October 03, 2016 - 11:36 am

I have a 254uc89kg/mx4550mm long prop to be installed between 2 concrete floors. Can this prop be stood up vertically and wheeled into position ?
i.e. is there an attachment available that can fitted to the forks ?                 

Peter Jones
November 04, 2016 - 7:53 pm

Hi Peter,

There are attahcments for forklift that would enable you to lift the object. If you would like to call on 13 22 54 to discuss your requirements.

AAL Admin
November 08, 2016 - 2:42 pm


I am considering a building which floor load for ground floor is 7.5kN/Square meter and 4kN/Sq meter on 1st and 2nd floor.
Appreciate your opinion whether the Floor load capacity is good for forklifts movement.

Thank you very much for your thoughts.       

December 01, 2016 - 1:37 pm

Hi Esther,
Can you please specify which forklift unit you were looking to utilise?

AAL Admin
December 01, 2016 - 3:53 pm

hello we have noticed that the battery in the electric forklift did not weigh enough as per the compliance plate. comp plate says 730kg - battery in forklift weighs 640kg. contacted forklift company to get fixed which they have done but the battery now weighs 725kg under by 5kg supplier says there is a 5%  leeway allowed is this correct?                     

February 22, 2017 - 1:03 pm

I am looking fro some help to determine the size forklift I need. The item that will be lifted is 72” deep by 95” wide. The weight of the item is 4000 -4500lbs.                       

April 06, 2017 - 6:17 am

Hi Scott,

Can you please send us through some photos of the load you are trying to lift to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or alternatively if you contact us on 13 22 54 one of our reps can come out and complete a comprehensive site examination and help you determine the best solution for your circumstances.

April 11, 2017 - 3:30 pm

    I have a safety question about forklifts. I am being told by my company that I need to strap my load to the mast or forklift blades I see this as being unsafe cause I have shifting blades and it seems like I will get a ratchet strap caught in between.                   

Sean E
April 17, 2017 - 5:38 pm

What is the effect of increasing the hight of the load on the forklift stability ?
In other words if the distance between the load CG and forklift CG the same why the load chart data change with load height change?

April 22, 2017 - 4:31 am

Please can you explain to me
If the fork lift is designed for pulling heavy loads ?
If yes , how can I to know the maximum load weight which could be pulled by fork lift??

Many thanks

April 24, 2017 - 4:01 am

How many feet/inches in the air can a forklift go???

Naaime Wilson
April 24, 2017 - 12:10 pm

Can you please help me regarding Safe weight loading load which is determine by our company on forklift SWL 2800, so please explained me that our forklift can carry or stack the maximum load (2800) , it’s safe or must be need 75% as of load capacity for safe loading?             

Sabir Khan
April 27, 2017 - 10:37 am

Hi Sabir and Naaime, on every forklift there should be a manufacturers rating plate, this will contain information as to showing the safe weight the forklift can lift and how tall the installed mast can lift cargo.                       

May 08, 2017 - 4:22 pm

Hi Amjad, the units rating plate should contain the information you require.                       

May 08, 2017 - 4:23 pm

                    Timely analysis

bettyann mullis
May 22, 2017 - 1:37 am

Hi Guys, I need slippers for a 16 maybe 18t forklift, how does a sliding scale affect lift capacity of the 16t fork?                       

Steve Webster
June 27, 2017 - 10:15 pm

      We are dealing with fly ash , so we   need to fill the bulker of height 4 meter with approx 4 ton of material in 3 bags, each bag weighs 1.4 tonne Please help me to find out the best type of forklift that can be used for this purpose.       

Pramod P
July 30, 2017 - 5:26 pm

is there a +/- for the rated capacity or can a 3 ton forklift lift only 3 tons and not 10% over 3 tons?                       

November 01, 2017 - 12:51 am

what is the fork weight of 15ton forklift?

November 05, 2017 - 4:07 pm

  what is the lifting capacity of a 980h with 8ft forks.. with forks pinned in place of bucket                    

January 23, 2018 - 6:09 am

Where I can get the info or evidence for statement : Forklift operation must be operate 75% as of load capacity for safe loading?

Muhammad Nurekhsan Bin Sabri
August 08, 2018 - 8:43 pm

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really
well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to
read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.

Motivated Labs Lean GC Review
December 16, 2018 - 7:22 pm

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your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.

ZYX 10
January 01, 2019 - 4:17 am

Hello, I am in a class and our standing reach truck’s capacity plate is beginning to wear off.  Where can I find the model number so I can print a new capacity plate?                       

January 10, 2019 - 1:09 am

                      Hello, hoping you can help. My forklift is a crown model 35RRT1 and it states on the data plate that load capacity is 2750 but it has side-shift which IS listed on the data plate. My question is, is 2750 correct for the load or do I still have to subtract for the attachment?

April 05, 2019 - 9:05 am

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