Deciphering the Telehandler Load Chart

Load charts are used to visualize potential lifts and ensure that your machine has the capacity to safely complete them. Misunderstanding load charts, or ignoring them completely, could lead to telehandler tipovers and severe injury.

There are several factors you can plot on a load chart, including:

  • Distance from the telehandler to the drop location
  • Height from the ground to the drop location
  • Boom angle
  • Boom extension
deciphering the telehandler load chart

Before making a lift, you should try to know as much of this information as possible. Less guesswork means a more accurate assessment of whether or not your lift can be made safely.

Once you have found all the information you can about the lift, make a mark on the chart. The point at which all your plot points intersect will tell you the operating capacity at that location.

Of course, it’s essential that you know (or at least estimate) the weight of the load you plan to lift. Even if you plot your information on a load chart, the result you get will not help you if you’re not sure how much your load weighs.

Obviously, the best way to learn the weight of a load is to actually weigh it. Unfortunately, this is often impractical on the worksite. If weighing the load doesn’t make sense or is impossible for your operation, you will need to perform some basic calculations to estimate the weight.

To estimate the weight, you will need to know the volume of the load and the unit weight of the material you are lifting. Multiply these to get an idea of the weight of your load.

Because it’s almost guaranteed that the weight you calculate won’t be 100% accurate, you should only make lifts that are less than 75% of the telehandler’s actual capacity. So, if the load chart shows that the capacity for a certain lift is 5,000 pounds, you should only lift loads less than 3,750 pounds. Otherwise, you run the risk of tipping the telehandler and seriously injuring yourself or others on the site.

Hard Hat Training’s OSHA-compliant Telehandler safety training has recently been revamped to make the information even more clear (and thorough). Check it out for more information on Telehandler safety. Good luck, and stay safe!