Using loading ramps is a dangerous process that can result in disaster if you don’t remember the essential rules. In this article we’ll take you through a few bits so that you can approach the loading and unloading of heavy loads onto your trailer without causing any unnecessary damage to either you, or your property.
First of all, it’s important that you remember to where PPE. At the very least, you should have steel toe cap boots on to project your feet if in the event of a load slipping from the ramp. Certainly, a mini excavator landing on your foot isn’t going to be good in any case, however, protective footwear can significantly reduce the severity of injury should an accident occur.
Common sense will be your biggest ally when it comes to safely loading and unloading heavy loads onto your trailer. Do not rush into it, and you should certainly never follow through if you have any doubts about it. For example: if you’re unsure as to whether your ramps can bear the loading weight, then it may be worth doing a little more research before going ahead and giving it a go.
In any case, here are 5 very important things that you need to remember when using loading ramps…
1 – Always ask for help
Unless you’ve loaded an item a thousand times before and it’s not all that heavy or dangerous (and even then, it’s a risk), you should always ask for help. This is particularly important when loading something large, heavy, and expensive such as a mini excavator, a quad bike, or a lawn mower. Something as simple as having someone guide you up the ramp or check on both sides of the ramp while you drive the machinery onto the trailer will go a long way towards ensuring your safety.
Again, this goes back to the common sense, side of things. If you are not confident in your ability to load a heavy piece of machinery unassisted, then it likely isn’t a good idea to proceed anyway. This is especially dangerous because if in the event of an accident, there will be no one around you to call for help. So, do not go it alone!
2 – 100% secure your ramp
It takes 2 minutes to double check that your ramp is attached properly, whereas it takes less than a second for the loading process to take a drastic turn for the worst. Double check your attachments! Then check again! Any safety straps or chains should be securely attached as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the loading ramps, do your research and ensure that you are attaching the ramp to the trailer properly. Should you neglect to do your due diligence, you will be putting yourself, your property, and anyone assisting you at risk. Until you are 100% certain that the ramp is attached properly, you cannot proceed with the loading process.
3 – Never load at too steep an angle
Physics is your friend in the loading process and should be respected. If you try to load at too steep an angle (i.e., your loading ramps aren’t long enough with respect to the height of your trailer), then you’re going to have a difficult time with loading your goods. However, the longer the ramp, the lower the gradient. This means that you’ll be able to load your machinery without too much in the way of resistance, thus reducing the overall risk of accident or injury.
4 – Mind the gap
Check that you have as much clearance as possible. By this, we mean the space before the loading ramp itself, and also the space that exists between the bottom of the load and the top edge of the trailer. Having enough space before the loading ramp means that should you need to let the load down off the ramps quickly, it won’t run back and smash into a wall or any other obstacles. Then of course, the clearance between the bottom of the load and the top edge of the trailer is important for not getting the load stuck. The best way to combat this issue is by purchasing loading ramps that come with built-in arches, thus lifting the back of the load and levelling it out when reaching the top edge of the trailer itself.
5 – Do not accelerate too quickly
It’s not a race, so be careful when accelerating up the ramp. Control your speed and approach the trailer slow and steady. If you race up, you will increase the risk of losing control and coming off the ramp or accelerating too far and damaging both the heavy machinery and the trailer itself. Take your time and be careful.
Finally, you should always buy the highest quality ramps. Do your research and find the best Australian trailer ramps and then make your purchase. There really is a noticeable difference in quality and if you want to load your trailer safely and without issue, you’ll need the very best. And of course, should you remember these tips, you won’t run into any issues.