Forklift forks must support at least two thirds of the load’s length. So, if an operator handles 6 ft. square crates, the minimum legal fork length requirement would be 4 ft. Fork extensions can be utilized to quickly lengthen the forks but depending on a company’s load demands, longer forks offer a safer alternative.
Fork Extensions: Application & Load Center
The best application for fork extensions is to deal with the occasional large but light load. They should not be used for the purpose of reaching loads into the back or side of a forklift to pick up product with the fork tips. Fork extensions should also not be “homemade” and must have a retainer on the forks in the way of a heel hook or chains.
Fork extensions do not create a significant deduction to forklift capacity. When used properly, they also do not automatically extend load center past the forklift’s ratings. Load center is the dimensional center of the actual load handled. Increased load center increases the load’s leverage to tip the forklift over. A manufacturer data tag with multiple load center ratings can help an operator make safer stability decisions.
Longer Forks: Flexibility & Stability
If a forklift regularly handles larger loads that are nearer to the rated capacity, using longer forks is the best practice. Installed only when needed, longer forks eliminate the need for an updated data (capacity) tag which is required with fork extensions. ANSI Standard B56 recognizes fork extensions as a forklift attachment. Additionally, OSHA 1910.178 states if a forklift uses equipment with front-end attachments other than factory installed, the unit must indicate the capacity changes. A manufacturer’s written approval must be given for the modification.
Standards and laws aside, using longer forks instead of fork extensions will always offer a more stable and structurally sound foundation for all forms of load handling. This makes longer forks a better choice when considering safety and tip-over risk factors.
Do you have the proper forks for each load? Contact ProLift today to request information about a longer set of forks or fork extensions.Contact ProLift