Stability Triangle Forklift Safety


Floor space is very valuable in warehouses. The less space taken up by aisles, the more room is available for storage or equipment. For this reason forklifts are designed to work in very narrow confines. As a result they have a high center of gravity. Knowing where the center of gravity is must be kept in mind by the operator at all times.

Stability Triangle

  • To get a visual picture of the stability triangle, draw a line between the two front tires of the forklift. From the end of each line draw a line to the center point of the rear axle. This should form a triangle and represents the stability area for your machine.

Center of Gravity

  • Picture the triangle, and inside that triangle place a small dot that will represent the center of gravity for the forklift. On a stationary truck with no load, this dot should be in the center of the truck, near the rear axle.

Moving the Dot

  • The dot representing your center of gravity (COG) will move forward and back as well as side to side as the machine is operated. The COG will move forward as a load is raised and side to side as the forklift is turned.

Keep It in the Triangle

  • If the COG should ever go outside of the triangle, the forklift will become unstable and overturn. This can happen when the machine is turned too quickly, or too heavy of a load is raised. The machine operator must keep this visual image in mind at all times.


  • Should the COG pass outside of the triangle the forklift will tip over. Machine tip-over is the No. 1 cause of forklift injuries. In the event of a tip-over, the operator should make every attempt to remain in the operator compartment, which will offer the most protection.

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