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Understanding load balance during forklift operations

  • What happened?

    A crew was off-loading two vertical pumps using an extended reach fork truck.

    The first pump was off-loaded successfully.

    When lifting the second pump, the load became unstable and fell 3 feet.

    The crew on the ground were 10 feet from the pump when it fell.

    There were no injuries.

    The fork truck and dropped pump wrapped in a broken wooden pallet.
  • Why did it happen?

    4x4 supports were not secured to the pallet consistently for each load.

    Forks did not fully engage the supports, causing the pallet to split.

    Workers did not fully understand the load’s weight distribution or centre of gravity.

    No labelling warning that the load was top heavy.

    The unloading area contained railroad tracks and uneven ground.

    The broken wooden pallet next to the fork truck.
  • What did they learn?

    Ensure loads and supports are secured to the pallets.

    Check forks are properly engaged before lifting.

    Understand the weight distribution of loads before attempting to unload them.

    Include signage on the load – e.g. ‘Top heavy’.

    Account for uneven ground.

    Ground personnel should stay in the safe zone.

    A vehicle driving the broken wooden pallet with the pump partially hanging off the vehicle
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    What other actions could have been taken?

    How could something like this happen here?

    How do we check the forks have properly engaged the supports?

    How do we know we understand of the load’s weight distribution?

    How have we managed factors that might affect the forklift operation (e.g. uneven ground, etc.)?

    Where is the safe zone?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 02/04/19 1141 Views 2 likes

A crew was off-loading two vertical pumps using an extended reach fork truck. The first pump was off-loaded successfully but when lifting the second pump, the load became unstable and fell 3 feet.