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Understanding Rating Plates

Updated: Feb 17

In Australia every forklift must convey a rating plate that contains crucial information regarding the safety of the forklift; Something that has become obvious within the forklift industry is that not everyone understands how to read the rating plate on their machine. A forklift should never be operated without a rating plate as the operator will have, no indication of the capacity of the forklift. All data found on the rating plate must be calculated by the manufacturer of the forklift. A forklift with a damaged or illegible rating plate must be tagged out until the rating plate has been replaced.

Making sure that you understand the forklifts working limits is essential. Many forklift accidents are the result of the forklift tipping due to being overweight, yet a basic an understating of how to read the weight requirements could prevent injury or death.

Most resources online are perplexing, filled with useless nonsense, and to be frank a plain waste of reading time.


Rating Plate ABCs

You should be able to locate the rating plate near the instrument panel near the operating controls.

Each rating plate is going to vary slightly depending on the forklift manufacturer.

A Forklifts rating plate should display; brand, model number, serial number, load capacity, lift height, load center distance, tyre type and size.

The first lines should display the make model and serial number unique to the forklift;

The “attachment” information is listed to show your forklifts capacity with the attachment fitted including the forklift weight; you may require more than one listing if more than one attachment has been fitted. (see above for example)

Any attachment that has been fitted to the forklift, has the potential to change the operating characteristics of the forklift. It is important that any forklift attachments used meet Australian Regulation, and they have been rated at capacities as well as the forklifts de-rated capacities. Ensure you have access to information regarding the rated capacity of the forklift when an attachment is fitted.”

The “tyres” rating indicated if the unit is specifically fitted with pneumatic or solid tyres as this can change the capacity of the forklift.

Tyre pressure front and rears; is shown for pneumatic tyres to show the accurate pressure required in the tyres to achieve the capacity indicated on the rating plate.

“Load centers” represent the middle of a forklift load, from front to back. It is easily calculated by measuring the load that will be carried and dividing by two (as long as the load is evenly dispersed, and positioned flush to the fork).

You will often see a nominal forklift capacity quoted in a form such as 2,000kg @ 600mm load center. As standard, on medium size forklift, manufacturers tend to analyze nominal capacities assuming a 500mm or 600mm load center, in line with typical pallet sizes.


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