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Operating Forklifts Safely on a Slope

Filed under: Safety

Forklifts are an extremely useful tool within the workplace, assisting in efficient movement of heavy loads which would otherwise take an unprecedented amount of time to transport manually. Forklifts can be dangerous vehicles when operators have not had sufficient training and are not fully competent in their use. Supervision and safety procedures should always be in place as well as adequate training for forklift operators in a variety of situations which they may face within their workplace operations.

One such situation forklift operators may face is the requirement to travel up or down a sloped surface. When operating forklifts in areas which contain slopes and ramps it is important to ensure safety measures are always carried out. Not only can operators be at risk when travelling recklessly on slopes but the safety of pedestrians is also compromised. The load in which the forklift operator may be transporting can also be significantly damaged or even destroyed if safety precautions are not followed within this situation. This week on the blog we discuss what should always be done when travelling on a slope and what should never be done whilst operating a forklift on a slope.


  • Travel slowly when going down slopes
  • speed

  • Ensure the forks face uphill when travelling up or down slopes with a load as this ensures stability and prevents the load falling off the fork arms. Travelling downhill must therefore always be completed in reverse
  • load

  • Ensure the forks face downhill when travelling up or down slopes without a load
  • no load

  • Adjust the tilt (where fitted) to suit the gradient and raise the forks to clear the ground

  • Turn the vehicle around on or travel across a ramp or a slope as lateral stability is affected and the forklift could overturn or the load could slide
  • overturn

  • Leave a forklift on a slope, except in an emergency. In case of emergency always chock the wheels
  • When you have finished working park the forklift in a safe place, on level ground; never on a slope
  • slope

    These forklift safety tips regarding forklift operation with slope and ramp surfaces will help you and those you work with stay safe around forklifts.

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      can a forklift ramp up or down a 7.77% gradient change?                     

    Blaine Freeman
    May 19, 2016 - 6:04 am

          What is the % slope limit a forklift can travel?                 

    June 04, 2016 - 11:33 pm

                      Dear Sir

    Kindly send me the specification and safe forklift operation over the ramp
    Is it acceptable to operate over the unstable surface or steep ramp.

    Please suggest the exact angle of ramp is acceptable to use forklift

    Faiyaz Akhtar

    HSE Trainer

    Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd.

    PO BOX 24466, Doha,

    Tel. No.    +974 4448 9562

    Mobile No. +974 6672 5326

    Email:      .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Faiyaz Akhtar
    July 13, 2016 - 4:15 pm

    I didn’t know that you should always have the lift facing uphill whether going up or down. I’ll have to make sure I practice driving in reverse so I can do this safely. Why is it that you face downhill when you don’t have a load? I can see now why it is important to have the proper training before operating any type of machinery.

    April Cook
    August 19, 2016 - 4:28 am

    Where to get the forklift manuals? H50CT & H20TXS-EL ?  unable to locate the manuals on a search.               

    May 24, 2017 - 4:16 pm

        How many hours a day should i be going up and down a mobile loading ramp in a 8 hour shift

    philip footitt
    June 09, 2017 - 7:22 am

            What about I am in progress to unloading truck according the picture as I am going back uphill I should face the forks downhill how can I turn back forks if the ramp is narrow I can’t trun forkift around. I have to go forward with forks face uphill not like picture riverse

    Ma... Ge
    August 08, 2017 - 8:26 pm

    That’s great        

    September 07, 2017 - 1:23 am

                          I wasn’t aware that forklifts could be so difficult to manage in certain circumstances like slopes. That would help explain why there are certifications required to use one! That way people using them know the proper measures to take when it comes to using a forklift in circumstances like that.

    Braden BIlls
    September 19, 2017 - 1:26 am

    Great safety precautions.Readers has to apply it on their routine follow this rule of driving.

    maryam jamil
    October 20, 2017 - 9:57 pm

    Operating the Forklift module.Turn prior to the ramp or incline to place forks in proper direction. Keep a safe distance from the edge of a ramp                    

    Mr Soori
    November 07, 2017 - 9:07 pm

          Great stuff you have shared its really helpful information for those peoples who has used these all machinery    

    November 07, 2017 - 11:19 pm

    I am looking for standard requirements for industrial ramp used for manual three wheel drum trolley. Can i please get any standard reference please?                       

    Muhammad Farooq
    November 14, 2017 - 10:42 pm

          What would cause a sudden extremely forceful drop to the ground if a Moffett when unloading the Moffett off the truck ?
    Years of experience, was some kind of malfunction it’s never happened before. Any suggestions? It dropped hard enough to crack the steel wheel.

    Sherry kehr
    January 17, 2018 - 10:35 am

          I have a small 3 wheeled electric truck. is this safe to use in a outside sloping yard for loading and unloading?                 

    September 17, 2018 - 11:22 pm

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