Setting up and operating a portable yard ramp can seem straightforward, but it’s worth taking a moment to review best practices to ensure safe and efficient operation. Key aspects of safe yard ramp operation are: offloading, moving, positioning, securing, using, storing, and onloading. Yard ramps were designed to be used with forklifts, so having access to one is integral to the operation of your yard ramp.
Offloading the Yard Ramp from a Flat Bed Truck
Your new dock or yard ramp will ship on a flatbed trailer. If an overhead crane of sufficient capacity is not available, a forklift with a minimum capacity rating of 8,000 lbs can be used to unload a standard-sized yard ramp. If you have ordered a yard ramp in a custom width, length, or rated capacity, please contact your HandiRamp representative for recommendations on the required forklift capacity.
A nylon sling of at least 96″ in length is recommended. The sling may be either the “2-Eye” or “Endless” configuration. A minimum capacity of 10,000 lbs for the “basket method” of lifting is recommended.
Position both tines of the forklift as close to the center of the forklift as possible. Place the forklift forks above the ramp. Feed the sling through the side-mounted lifting lug and position one loop of the sling over each fork within 24 inches of the forklift carriage, thus creating a basket lift. Lift the yard ramp until it clears the floor of the trailer by a few inches. Move away from the trailer and lower the ramp to the ground.
Moving a Yard Ramp with a Forklift
- Insert the ramp clamp into the vertical slot at the bottom of the yard ramp. Turn the ramp clamp in the slot so that it is securely in place.
- Using the forklift, manipulate the fork into the ramp clamp.
- Secure the ramp clamp by hand-tightening the device around the ramp clamp.
- Before starting to pull or push the ramp around, the “landing gear” or wheels located at the undercarriage of the ramp should be deployed. If the wheels are not lowered, the bottom of your yard ramp will scrape against the ground, and the forklift will have to work against much greater drag.
Positioning the Yard Ramp at the Dock or Trailer
- Pump the hydraulic pump on the side of the yard ramp up to move the yard ramp lip above the dock or trailer edge.
- Using the forklift and ramp clamp, move the yard ramp onto a loading dock or into a semi-trailer.
- Release the hydraulic pump pressure to lower the lip of the yard ramp.
- Check to see that the yard ramp lip is positioned flush on the bottom of the dock or trailer.
- Remove the forklift forks and the ramp clamp from the yard ramp. Store the ramp clamp in the storage position on the side of the ramp.
Securing the Yard Ramp
The safety chains are used to secure the ramp. Two chains are located in the front of the ramp and should be chained to the dock or semi-trailer. Each chain should loop around a fixture like a bollard, and then be secured in place using the snap hook. The chains will allow for vertical movement but keep the horizontal position fixed. Attach the chains before releasing the forks and removing the ramp clamp.
Using the Yard Ramp
Forklifts that drive over the surface of the ramp should move slowly and be driven in low gear. When forklifts are empty they should be driven with the forks up, about 12 inches off the ground.
Storage of the Ramp
To store the yard ramp:
- Remove the safety chains.
- Close the release valve of the pump.
- Pump the hydraulic system so that the lip of the yard ramp is above the dock or semi-trailer.
- Secure the ramp clamp into the bottom of the ramp and fasten the forklift fork within the ramp clamp.
- Use the forklift to move the yard ramp away from the dock or trailer.
- Open the pump release valve.
- Lower the yard ramp to the storage position.
- Place the hand of the pump into the side of the yard ramp.
Onloading a Forklift Ramp
Mobile yard amps are loaded on a flatbed to be shipped to their destination. One or two yard ramps can be loaded onto the flatbed. Ramps can be loaded horizontally or vertically. If loaded horizontally, only one yard ramp can be loaded. If vertically, two ramps can be loaded.
- Begin by securing the wheels.
- Use a crane or forklift (similar to the offboarding process) to place the yard ramp(s) onto the flatbed in a vertical or horizontal position.
- Strap the yard ramp(s) down to the truck bed with nylon string belts in at least 5 separate locations.
Note: These operating instructions are a general guide. Details of operating your yard ramp may vary according to the make and model of the yard ramp.