Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Operating Forklifts Safely on a Slope

by Paul Hinz
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 limit 123455

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


Ensure the forks face downhill when travelling up or down slopes without a load

No load1

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

Tipped forklift (4)

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.

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