OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Ramps and Warehouse Loading Dock Ramps
OSHA’s guidelines for forklift ramp safety are related to speed and maintaining a slow, controlled ascent or descent on the ramp. Specific requirements include:
- “No ramp or walkway shall be inclined more than a slope of one vertical to three horizontal (20 degrees above the horizontal).”
- “Grades shall be ascended or descended slowly.”
- “A safe distance shall be maintained from the edge of ramps…”
In light of the number of accidents on forklifts, OSHA estimates 85 fatal forklift accidents per year as well as 34,900 serious injuries and 61,800 non-serious injuries. This data is supported by the Industrial Truck Association, which estimates there are about 855,900 forklifts in use each day! This suggests that over 11% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident each year. All the more reason to take ramp safety seriously in all features of forklift ramp design.
Forklifts are notorious for bottoming out and flipping when they try to drive up a loading ramp. For this reason, OSHA is very particular about how you should properly use them on ramps. However, if you do it correctly, then there won’t be any accidents!
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Preventing Forklift Ramp Accidents
The ITA reports that the useful life of a lift truck is about 8 years. This means that 90% of all forklifts will be involved in some type of accident during their career, assuming only one incident per vehicle. If you operate this equipment, there’s a possibility your safety could be compromised at any time due to an unfortunate and unavoidable event on more than one occasion! To reduce the chance of being hurt, it’s important to understand where and how these accidents occur.
The dangers of operating a forklift without proper training have been well-documented. All the more reason an inexperienced driver should not be behind the wheel. No one starts out with innate knowledge about how to operate these machines safely- they must first receive OSHA-mandated training before getting started with their driving career!
Here are the numbers of forklift fatalities by industry and type of accident based on data from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):
|Fatal Accident Type
|Where Fatalities Occur
|Crushed by vehicle tipping over
|Crushed between vehicle and a surface
|Crushed between two vehicles
|Struck or run over by a forklift
|Struck by falling material
|Fall from the platform onto forks
OSHA Compliance & Keeping Workers Safe
OSHA compliance is a phrase that many of us hear but do not understand. OSHA sets the guidelines for safety practices on job sites to reduce injuries or fatalities. You could be using your ramp for a wide variety of reasons including creating access from the exterior to the interior of storage facilities or warehouses, getting animals off trailers safely without putting them under stress, or any other situation where vehicles cannot access the ramp. Whether you need a forklift ramp that can provide access to trucks in the shipping yard, or an auxiliary mobile ramp for your loading dock, OSHA compliance begins with picking the best forklift ramp for the job.
You won’t always have the best equipment for every new project, but a reputable ramp manufacturer ought to have resources to make your work easy and effective. If you’re still feeling stuck on how best to get started, try looking at these quick tips below!
Know Your Equipments Capabilities
A good ramp will be strong and sturdy, but they still have their limits. If you exceed the maximum load capacity then it can weaken or even break the ramp.
Secure with Wheel Chocks
Standard ramp features mixed with dock equipment accessories are the recipe for success. Ramp accessories like aluminum wheel chocks prevent dangerous movement during loading or unloading. This tight hold protects against involuntary movements such as sudden jolts and shifting while you’re hard at work!
Unload on a Level Surface
The surface you drive on should be level and sturdy. If possible, park the ramp onto concrete or blacktop to prevent any risk posed by uneven terrain.
Secure Ramp Connection
To make loading tasks as safe as possible, the lip of your ramp should always be resting on a dock or truck. Connecting safety chains is also recommended for extra protection since they can hold up to about 6000 pounds in combined weight before breaking!
Transport at Safe Speeds