Forklift Safety for Ramps, Slopes and Inclines

forklift on incline

It is important your forklift operators are aware of inclines at your facility and how to safely operate equipment when approaching.

A ramp, slope or incline is defined as an angle that exceeds 10%, or approximately one foot rise for every ten feet of ramp or incline. OSHA 1910.178(n)(7) addresses regulations for ramps, slopes or inclines that must be followed any time a powered industrial truck is on a defined incline.

1910.178(n)(7)(i) When ascending or descending grades in excess of 10 percent, loaded trucks shall be driven with the load upgrade.

1910.178(n)(ii) 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.

Climbing excessive grades can have a negative effect on battery cycle time, fuel consumption, component temperature, longevity and reliability of the machine. While the ability to reliably climb a ramp is important, safely descending a ramp when carrying heavy loads is equally concerning. The forklift must be able to safely stop on the required grade.

Gradeability ratings apply to a particular make and model of machine and are legitimately supplied only by the manufacturer. The ratings identify on which grade a machine is capable of climbing and stopping with a full capacity load. For example, a Toyota 8FBCU25 forklift is rated at approximately 20% which is only 12 degrees. However, some 4-wheel drive rough terrain forklifts have as much as a 30-40% gradeability rating.

Conversions
The conversion chart below can help in converting from degree to percentage.

forklift inclines slopes ramps

Many times forklift gradeability is rated on degree of angle but you may also calculate the percentage by measuring the height and length of the ramp at your facility.

Do you have questions about your ramps, slopes or inclines? Contact our Training Team for information about your specific challenge.

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