What’s Wrong With This Picture?

| OSHA, USF Safety Florida

Written by: Adam Marty, PhD., Health Consultant

A pallet of concrete was observed being used as an additional counterweight on a forklift.

According to OSHA Standard 1910.178(q)(6), “Additional counterweighting of fork trucks shall not be done unless approved by the truck manufacturer.”  The standard also states that forklifts “shall not be altered so that the relative positions of the various parts are different from what they were when originally received from the manufacturer, nor shall they be altered either by the addition of extra parts not provided by the manufacturer or by the elimination of any parts…”

Adding additional counterweights to increase the lifting capacity of the forklift shifts the center gravity outside of the stability triangle of the forklift.  This modification can result in decreased stability, handling, and steering ability, resulting in the forklift tipping over, the operator losing control of the forklift, the forklift dropping the load, and ultimately struck by and crushing injuries and fatal accidents.

This forklift should not be operated with the additional counterweight.  The user should contact the manufacturer to request additional counterweights and written approval.  The user should request a new data plate to show the new forklift weight and capacity information for both the additional counterweight and the attachment used.  The user should also ensure that the forklift operator is competent to operate the forklift and recognizes this unsafe operating practice.

For additional information regarding the safe use of Forklifts, click here.