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Capacity Rating/OSHA Safety

Portable loading ramps, also called portable loading docks, forklift ramps, mobile ramps, or yard ramps, provide access to semi-trailers and boxcars from ground level. They can be used in places where permanent loading docks do not exist, such as farm fields or construction sites, or as a cost effective way to expand material handling capabilities. Portability provides the flexibility to load and unload trailers close to the storage location, which can significantly reduce transportation distances in large facilities. This course will cover the basic features and safe operating guidelines for portable loading ramps.

The Capacity

The capacity you select must be greater than the combined weight of your heaviest forklift and the heaviest weight of anticipated loads it will carry plus a safety factor. We recommend starting with four times the rated lifting capacity of your fork lift truck. For example a forklift that can lift 5000 LBS would require a 20,000 LBS ramp. This will insure the safety factor of the forklift weight, forklift lifting capacity and the velocity factor  Please read OSHA safety requirements for all portable yard ramps.. Always be safe and buy ramps that can withstand more weight than anticipated. Our heavy duty ramps our rated from 16,000 LBS to100,000 LBS in capacity to ensure safety.

Forklift maximum lifting capacity:          Cars, Trucks and heavy machinery weight

(MAX speed on ramp - 2mph):                          (MAX  speed on ramp - 2mph):

4000 LBS = 16,000 LBS Ramp                            10000 LBS = 15,000 LBS Ramp

5000 LBS = 20,000 LBS Ramp                            14000 LBS = 20,000 LBS Ramp

6000 LBS = 24,000 LBS Ramp                            20000 LBS = 30,000 LBS Ramp

7000 LBS = 28,000 LBS Ramp                            30000 LBS = 45,000 LBS Ramp

8000 LBS = 32,000 LBS Ramp                            40000 LBS = 60,000 LBS Ramp

9000 LBS = 36,000 LBS Ramp                            50000 LBS = 75,000 LBS Ramp

10000LBS =40,000 LBS Ramp                            60000 LBS = 90,000 LBS Ramp

OSHA Guidelines for Forklift Traffic on Dock Ramps and Yard Ramps


A good ramp will help you meet all of these requirements and, in turn, keep forklift operators safe and in-control of their heavy loads.

Some of the more general requirements address ensuring a slow, controlled ascent or descent on the ramp. Here are a few specific requirements:

  • 29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(ii) – “No ramp or walkway shall be inclined more than a slope of one vertical to three horizontal (20 degrees above the horizontal).”

  • 29 CFR 1910.178(n)(7) – “Grades shall be ascended or descended slowly.”

  • 29 CFR 1910.178(m)(6) – “A safe distance shall be maintained from the edge of ramps…”

OSHA Guidance for Operating Lift Trucks on Ramps and Grades

In addition to their equipment requirements, OSHA has specific instructions for forklift operators. Here are some highlights:

  • Do not turn on an incline.

  • Keep away from the edge of the ramp.

  • Do not use ramps with slopes that exceed the recommended maximum.

  • Always look in the direction you are driving.

Drivers should always carry a load pointed up the incline, even when they are driving down an incline. That means that operators should drive in reverse with their heads turned down the ramp when they are descending with a load.

Minimum ramp weight capacity should not be lower than Forklift/Truck lifting capacity multiplied by four.

OSHA also recommends that operators drive in reverse up inclines when they do not have a load. Again, the operator must turn their head to face the direction of travel for maximum safety.

Still, it’s crucial to rely on heavy-duty ramps with gentle grades and steel curbs. Safe forklift operators and well-designed equipment can help prevent or even eliminate dangerous accidents at the loading dock, which is well-worth the investment.

29 CFR 1910.178 – Powered industrial trucks.” OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2017.
Understanding the Workplace: Loading Docks.” OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2017.
Understanding the Workplace: Ramps and Grades.” OSHA. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 11 Oct 2017.

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