When looking for a yard ramp to increase the efficiency of your loading and unloading operations, it is important to also examine the safety considerations that come along with using a portable loading dock. If your yard ramp is not used or maintained properly, it can interrupt your business performance and put both your productivity and personnel at risk.
In this blog, we will explore important safety considerations that ensure your yard ramp is being correctly utilized by your daily operations.
Choosing the Right Yard Ramp
The specifications of your yard ramp should fit your application. 4>
Before diving into the safety procedures surrounding the usage of your yard ramp, attention to safety begins with the selection of your portable loading ramp. Your yard ramp needs to be able to meet the demands of your business operations in order to operate safely. This includes length, width, weight capacity, height, level offs, and side rails among other factors. Thankfully, the Industrial Toolz team of ramp experts is at your service to help you select the ideal yard ramp for your business. We’ll provide guidance through the entire process to ensure that your yard ramp supports your safety and efficiency. Just give us a call at 262-671-5000 or inquire here.
Ensure that every staff member has been properly trained to move, place, and use a forklift on the yard ramp.4>
The overall safety of not only your yard ramp operation but also the operation of your entire business is due to proper staff training. Before moving or using a portable yard ramp for loading and unloading, your staff should be trained to do so. This may look like written or video instructions, as well as hands-on training. This also includes forklift certification in order to move the yard ramp and facilitate loading and unloading. Proper training and certification (when required) will help prevent workplace accidents that can damage your product and equipment and cause injury to your personnel.
Ramp Placement & Usage
Follow safety procedures when moving and placing your yard ramp. This includes:
- Chocking wheels when in use.
- Using the safety chains.
- Not exceeding the weight capacity.
- Proper forklift operation.
Your Industrial Toolz yard ramp possesses multiple features to ensure safe usage. Because yard ramps are designed to be portable, steps must be taken to lock the ramp in place during use. After positioning your yard ramp, it is essential to chock the wheels when they are touching the ground. The safety chains on either side of the ramp must also attach to either the dock or trailer during loading and unloading operations. For full detailed instructions on how to move and place your yard ramp, read here.
In addition to these necessary safety steps, it is also essential that the combined weight of the forklift and payload does not exceed the weight capacity of the ramp. This includes not only the cargo and equipment you’ll be loading and unloading but also the forklift you’ll be using to do so. Exceeding the weight capacity may damage your yard ramp leading to ramp down time and repairs.
Finally, because yard ramps are meant to support loading and unloading facilitated by forklifts, proper forklift operation is crucial. Industrial Toolz yard ramps have side curbs in place to ensure forklifts do not drive over the side of the ramp. Still, the forklift operator should be mindful of the edges of the ramp to prevent damage to the forklift. When going up and down the ramp, forklift operators should attempt to keep the wheels as straight as possible with the load pointed upward. Forklift operators should also check the loading area for pathway instructions and collision hazards to prevent tipping and dropped loads.
Weather & Seasonal Changes
Watch out for how the weather and seasonal changes like snow, ice, and shorter days can affect your yard ramp.
Even though Industrial Toolz’s hard-wearing yard ramps are fabricated to perform all year long in a variety of weather conditions, it is still important to take extra precautions when the weather and seasons change. The steel grate surface of Industrial Toolz yard ramps prevents water and small debris from collecting on top of the ramp, but if temperatures plunge, snow and ice may begin to form on the ramp and create a slippery surface. Before using the ramp, it is crucial that it is cleared of snow and ice to ensure that forklifts can safely operate. A good way to prevent snow or ice accumulation in the winter is to store your yard ramp inside your warehouse if possible or cover it with a waterproof tarp if being stored outside.
Another seasonal change to consider is when the days get shorter during the winter time so there is less natural light to work with. Because proper visibility is critical when using a yard ramp, loading and unloading operations must be done in good lighting. This may mean scheduling these operations earlier in the day during the winter or investing in outdoor lighting to illuminate the shipping and receiving area. This ensures that your cargo and equipment can be safely loaded and unloaded at night or on dark winter evenings.
Inspections & Maintenance
Perform regular inspections and create a maintenance schedule for your yard ramp.
As a business owner, you know that all equipment and tools should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure optimal efficiency and safety. Your portable loading ramp is no exception. The wheels, lifting system, railings (if applicable), ramp clamp, and safety chains should be inspected on a consistent schedule recommended by the ramp manufacturer. Before using the ramp, a visual inspection should be done daily to ensure all parts of the ramp are functioning as intended.
Additionally, more intensive quarterly and yearly inspections should be done. This includes inspecting the condition of the steel, the paint, and the manual crank system. Any observations should be noted and addressed in a timely fashion. If an integral component of the ramp is damaged, like the wheels or crank, the ramp should not be used until it is repaired.
Beyond just inspections, a maintenance schedule should be put in place for your yard ramp. Performing regular maintenance like repainting to prevent rust, replacing pieces like safety chains, and greasing the manual crank will ensure that your yard ramp is always working properly and will extend its life so it can serve your business for years to come.
Making Your Business Safer and More Efficient
Buying a yard ramp is not only an investment in the efficiency but also the safety of your business. That is why it is crucial that your portable loading ramp is utilized properly to best support your loading and unloading operations. As the world’s oldest custom ramp manufacturer, Industrial Toolz is one of the leading experts in designing and manufacturing portable steel yard ramps. Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used yard ramp or rent one, we are at your service! Give us a call at 262-671-5000 so we can answer any of your questions and get you a quote.