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What Is the Maximum Gradient for a Lift Truck?


As a general rule all gradients should be avoided. They are a hazard to any fork lift truck operation. If they cannot be avoided then the gradient must be met head on – straight up or down the slope. If the slope is icy or wet, or if the ground is uneven or soft, the hazard will increase. Most laden counterbalance trucks should cope with a gradient of 5%. Crossing any gradient sideways will increase the risk of the truck overturning. Loading or unloading of vehicles should take place on firm, level ground.

If difficult operating conditions cannot be avoided consider the use of equipment designed for rough terrain or off-road use.

Workplace Design

Problems with gradients can be minimized by considering the risks during the design stage of new builds, or through modifications. The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) provides technical guidance that covers gradients of general floor surfaces, doorways, ramps and drainage gullies, For example they quote 12.5% as a maximum gradient for ramps. However, wherever possible, the specific truck specification sheet should also be consulted.