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Forklift Stability Triangle

Forklift Stability Triangle
forklift training

Understanding the forklift stability triangle is crucial for forklift operators to ensure safe and stable operation of these powerful machines. The stability triangle concept is fundamental to maintaining balance and preventing tip-overs, which are significant hazards associated with forklift use. Let’s delve into the details of the forklift stability triangle:

What is the Forklift Stability Triangle?

The forklift stability triangle, also known as the stability triangle or stability triangle principle, is a concept that illustrates the relationship between the center of gravity of a forklift, the base of support provided by its wheels, and the stability limits during operation. This triangle concept is key to understanding how forklifts maintain balance and stability while lifting and transporting loads.

Components of the Stability Triangle:

  1. Center of Gravity (CG): The center of gravity of a forklift refers to the point where the combined weight of the forklift and its load is concentrated. The location of the center of gravity changes depending on the weight and distribution of the load being lifted.

  2. Base of Support: The base of support of a forklift is determined by the area defined by its wheelbase. It includes the footprint created by the forklift’s tires on the ground. A wider wheelbase provides a larger base of support, enhancing stability.

  3. Stability Limits: The stability limits of a forklift are influenced by the relationship between its center of gravity and its base of support. The stability triangle represents the theoretical boundaries within which the forklift must operate to remain stable and avoid tipping over.

Key Principles of the Stability Triangle:

  • Triangle’s Center of Gravity (CG): The center of gravity of a forklift changes based on the position and weight of the load. When the forklift lifts a load, the combined center of gravity shifts forward and upward.

  • Impact of Load Positioning: Placing a load too far forward or to the side of the forklift’s carriage can shift the center of gravity outside the stability triangle, increasing the risk of tip-overs.

  • Maintaining Stability: To maintain stability and prevent tip-overs, forklift operators must keep the combined center of gravity within the stability triangle by:

    • Ensuring proper load placement and weight distribution.
    • Avoiding excessive speed and abrupt maneuvers.
    • Keeping within the rated load capacity of the forklift.

Practical Application for Operators:

Understanding the stability triangle is essential for safe forklift operation. Operators should receive training on:

  • Identifying the center of gravity and base of support of the forklift.
  • Recognizing factors that affect stability, such as load position, speed, and terrain.
  • Implementing safe operating practices to maintain stability during lifting, lowering, and traveling.


The forklift stability triangle is a fundamental concept that underpins safe and effective forklift operation. By understanding the relationship between the center of gravity, base of support, and stability limits, operators can mitigate risks and ensure stability while maneuvering forklifts in diverse work environments. Training and adherence to safety protocols are critical to preventing accidents and maintaining a safe workplace for everyone involved in forklift operations.

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Robs Forklift Training offers versatile services, providing both offsite forklift training at our Maple Ridge training facility and onsite forklift training at your site location anywhere in British Columbia including Vancouver Island. Additionally, we conduct onsite Aerial Lift (MEWP) Training and Fall Protection Training. Reach out to Robs Forklift Training for more information.

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