How much can you legally lift?

It is a legal requirement under LOLER & PUWER to have both a data plate and the Safe Working Load (SWL) clearly displayed on all lifting equipment including forklift trucks. In addition to this, where forklift trucks have an attachment fitted i.e., fork rotator, carton clamp etc, the forklift truck will need to have a “deration plate” showing the SWL of the truck and attachment combined. This will generally mean that the lifting capacity has been reduced (sometimes substantially) from the trucks standard SWL. Failure to display these in accordance with LOLER and PUWER will result in a failure of the trucks Thorough Examination.

What is a data plate?

As well as being a legal requirement, the data plate contains important information to the user/owner of the equipment showing the manufacturer, model, a unique serial number and year of manufacture. Additionally, it should also show the CE conformity mark, the mass of the equipment and, in the case of lifting equipment the SWL from when it left the factory.

On battery-powered trucks, it will also indicate the minimum and maximum battery weight permissible (the weight of the battery acts as part of the counterbalance of the load) to enable to the truck to lift its rated capacity.

Forklift truck lifting a cage at full reach

The mass (weight) of the truck needs to be taken into consideration when transporting the truck but also when working on an elevated floor. Helping to ensure weight limits always adhere too and operations are safe. Data plates must be fixed on the truck, be visible to the operator and must be either engraved on the plate or a printed decal from the manufacturer. A valid data plate must show the CE mark in the UK and EU proving it meets all current European standards.

Forklift truck data plate

What is a deration plate?

A deration plate is required when a fork truck has an attachment fitted, this could be anything from a bale clamp to fork extensions. The mass (weight) of the attachment is subtracted from the factory rated capacity of the truck. A deration plate must come from the manufacturer of the truck. The same principles as a data plate apply; it must be visual to the operator and fixed to the truck.

The manufacturer will take into account the Mass (weight) of the attachment along with it’s centre of gravity (CoG – the balance point distance of the attachment), Lost Load Centre (LLC – the distance the attachment sticks out from the carriage).

Each deration plate is applicable to that particular truck only and should have both the serial number of the truck and details of the attachment. If the attachment is changed, then another plate will be required. If a truck uses more than one attachment the truck needs a deration plate for every individual attachment.

If you are unsure if your truck has the relevant data plate or deration plate, please get in touch.

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