Forklift Safety on Inclines, Slopes, and Ramps
The topic: forklift safety on inclines, slopes, and ramps should be included in your forklift operator training. This is especially true if driving of forklift on inclines, slopes, and ramps is common practice at your place of businesses.
The following standards are taken from CFR 1910.178
- Grades shall be ascended or descended slowly [CFR 1910.178(n)(7)]
- When ascending or descending grades in excess of 10 percent, loaded trucks shall be driven with the load upgrade [CFR 1910.178(n)(7)(i)]
- On all grades the load and load engaging means shall be tilted back if applicable, and raised only as far as necessary to clear the road surface [CFR 1910.178(n)(7)(iii)]
By definition an incline, slope, or ramp is commonly defined as an angle when it is in excess of 10 degrees.
The formula for how to determine whether or not the angle exceeds 10 degrees is defined below:
Your forklift operators could benefit from an incline, slope, and ramp safety discussion.
Three potential hazards of omitting this discussion could include:
1. Danger of tip over
2. Danger of losing the load
3. Serious injury or death.
The following items listed are a few good talking points to include in your training program.
- Drive forward going up the ramp with a load
- Drive in reverse coming down the ramp with a load
- If you have to drive forward and your vision is blocked, have someone direct your path
- Do not turn while on the ramp
- Always look in the direction of travel
- Maintain a safe distance from edge of ramp
- The load should be tilted back enough to stabilize the load
Forklift – Traveling With and Without a Load
When your operators are traveling with a load, the load should point up the incline. This would include going up or down the ramp. If the operator is not able to see (going up the ramp) then a spotter should be utilized. It is important that both the operator and the spotter are in visual contact at all times. The forks should be raised enough to safely clear the grade.
When traveling in reverse the operator should be using 360 degrees of visibility at all times. Being aware of other equipment and pedestrians is paramount. They should use low gear and slow speed. When carrying a heavy load on grade, the forklift must be able to safely stop.
When your operators are traveling without a load, the forks should be pointed down the incline. This would include going up or down the ramp. The forks should be raised enough to safely clear the grade. They should use low gear and slow speed.
NOTE: Do not travel on inclines, slopes, ramps or other conditions that exceed the manufacture’s recommendation.
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