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safe forklift use on ramps and inclines

Forklifts on rampsThis article was originally posted on the Toyota blog on 28th March 2023. The article is substantially unchanged but I have modified it a little to suit the UK market.

Driving forklifts up and down slopes, inclines, and ramps is a day-to-day activity required in many facilities. The task of moving loads on these obstacles should always be approached with caution and only performed by operators who have trained to do so. To help you better understand safety concerns with ramps, it’s useful to measure the grade of the incline. 

Gradient calculationA ramp, slope, or incline is defined as an angle that exceeds 10 percent. Calculating the incline of the ramp will require knowledge of how high the ramp rises and how far it runs, as defined by the model shown here.

The grade of the ramp or slope is calculated by dividing the rise by the run. In the above example, the rise of 5 ft. divided by the run of 25 ft. results in a 20% grade. 

Specific precautions are required when driving forklifts on ramps with grades over 10%. Loaded forklifts must be driven with the load pointed up the ramp (good standard practice is to ALWAYS drive with the load pointed up the ramp or slope). Raise levels should be limited to the minimum height necessary for ground clearance. Forklifts must be able to safely stop on the ramp or slope, according to model specifications provided by your manufacturer. 

Familiarize yourself with  these guidelines which are critical for operators who are required to navigate such obstacles. Among the key recommendations are: 

See also: Information on covering the use of forklift trucks on slopes starting at this slide on my forklift training course.

Disclaimer. The legislative information contained on this web site is my interpretation of the law based on many years in the health and safety business. A definitive interpretation can only be given by the courts. I will therefore not be held responsible for any accident/incident/prosecution arising as a consequence of anyone using any information obtained from this web site.

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