Are Forklift Extensions Legal?

Forklift Loading
Are Forklift Extensions Legal?

Yes, fork extensions are legal, but they come with rules and regulations to prevent accidents. Fork extension regulations are as follows: Fork extensions must never be longer than 1.5 times the length of the forks. (Nov 15, 2017). A forklift can carry 4,000 pounds at a 24 inches load center, but only 2,666 pounds at a 36 inches load center. Requirements and Recommended Practices: Estimate the safe load capacity with oversized loads.

Fork extensions for forklifts increase the versatility and load-bearing power of the equipment. They allow forklifts and their operators to handle large and odd-shaped loads with better stability with a lower risk of damaging the load. While forklift extensions are essential tools on many worksites, they can present certain safety concerns and safety considerations, which include the stability, capacity, and visibility of the forklift and operator.

How Are Fork Extensions Used?

 Forklift extensions simply slide over the normal forks on a forklift, rest on top of them, and lock into place under a fork hanger. Many fork extensions are made with a welded loop on the end to keep it in place and give workers an easier time taking them on and off. Fork extensions are typically made for hook type forks, which attach to the carriage of the forklift and come in Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4 to accommodate varying carriage heights. Shaft mounted forks attach to a pole on the carriage and are typically specialty forks and custom built

Why Are Forklift Extensions Used?

Forklift extensions are used to allow a forklift to expand its load capacity and handle larger, oddly-shaped loads. However, they are best when used for occasional large loads that do not exceed the forklift manufacturer’s load weight limits. When a business handles large loads that are close to the rated capacity on a regular basis, longer forks may be the safer option. However, when used correctly, fork extensions do not automatically extend the load center past the forklift’s ratings, which means they do not automatically increase a forklift’s chances of tipping over. Proper training and following the manufacturer’s instructions for forklift attachments will help ensure fork extensions are used safely and correctly.

Forklift Rules & Regulations
  • Fork extensions must never be longer than 1.5 times the length of the forks.
  • Fork extensions must be capable of supporting an evenly distributed, or equal load of three times its rated capacity.
  • The rated load center of the fork extension should be at 50% of the fork extension load supporting length.
  • Each fork extension should be clearly stamped and labeled with the individual load rating, supporting fork size, manufacturer’s mark, serial number, year of manufacture, and the required blade cross-section and minimum blade length for the parent fork.
  • If the fork extensions are not factory-installed attachments, employers need to request that the truck is marked to identify the attachments and the approximate weight of the lift truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.
  • Modifications or additions that affect the capacity or safety of the forklift shall not be performed without prior written approval from the forklift manufacturer.
  • Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals must be changed accordingly.
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