Tips for Safely Operating a Forklift on a Slope

In a warehouse, there are many different opportunities for an accident to occur.

A number of these accidents involve forklifts. This is especially true if the forklift is being operated on a slope, near a drop off, or without proper training. Any time a forklift is in operation, everyone in the area needs to be aware of what’s going on and must know proper safety methods for working around these vehicles.

Here are a few safety tips specifically for those operating or working near a forklift on a slope.

Watch Your Speed

Forklift operators should always watch how fast they’re going, especially if they’re moving a large, heavy load or if there are others in the area. However, this becomes especially important when going up or down a slope. If the forklift is going fairly fast, it may come off the slope moving more quickly than expected. On the other hand, if it’s moving too slowly, it may have difficulty getting up the slope and could slip backwards.

Always Face Up-Slope with a Load

Make certain the forklift forks are always facing up-slope when loaded. This will keep the load from shifting downwards and falling off. This means the operator will have to back down the forklift ramps. Even if the load seems secure, going down a slope backwards is always the safest method.

Always Face Down-Slope without a Load

On the other hand, safety says to always back up a slope if the forklift has no load. This allows the driver to see everything at the top of the slope before moving the forklift into the area. Otherwise, the forks are going to reach the top first. They could hit someone or something before the driver is even aware that the area above the ramp isn’t empty.

Remember to Adjust the Forks

When traveling up or down forklift ramps, be sure to adjust the tilt of the forks to match the slope’s gradient. Also raise the forks so that they will clear the ground. Otherwise, the forks may hit the ground, jarring the load or damaging the vehicle.

Never Turn Around on a Slope

Turning around on a slope, especially with a load, can cause the forklift to become unbalanced and tip over. It’s also very easy to hit the forks against the ground while attempting to turn around on a slope, which can damage the vehicle.

Never Drive Horizontally Across a Slope

Attempting to drive across a slope horizontally can also affect the forklift’s lateral stability. It could easily overturn even if it’s not loaded. If it is loaded, the load may shift.

Don’t Park on a Slope

Do not park a forklift on a slope unless it is an emergency. If it is an emergency, be sure to lock the wheels so that the forklift cannot slide down the ramp. It may also be necessary to place blocks behind the wheels to ensure that the forklift will not roll down the slope. If there is no emergency or when the emergency is over, always move the forklift to level ground.

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