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Posted by Stephanie on January 2, 2023

When you need to load and unload inventory, you can do so with the use of yard ramps of all shapes and sizes. The design of the yard ramps you use determines how safe they are for employees. Yard ramps are often designed with safety features in mind. For instance, mobile yard ramps can be comprised of leveling or mobility mechanisms.

Both of these designs improve the ramp’s positioning at the delivery vehicle or dock. The hydraulic hand pump is able to accommodate fast elevation of the ramp to the desired height. As for the two-gear hand crank, it allows for smooth precision during operation without much effort.

Every type of yard ramp is outfitted with a serrated grating that ensures proper traction for your forklift. With serrated grating, the buildup of water and debris is prevented. There are many different yard ramp options to select from. If you want to purchase yard ramps that are equipped with the latest safety features, you should know what these options are. This guide takes a closer look at the design of yard ramps and how it incorporates important safety features.

yard ramp

What is a Yard Ramp?

Yard ramps are specialty ramps that can effectively be used as portable loading docks. You can transport these ramps to any location in your shipping and receiving yard to make sure that forklift operators are able to have easy access to shipping containers or trailers. The use of a yard ramp makes the process of loading and unloading items considerably safer.

Yard ramps provide users with the ability to move heavy loads from the ground level to the level of a truck trailer or loading dock, which means that the items don’t need to be moved to a more permanent loading dock. All that’s required to use a yard ramp is enough space for a truck to get into.

How do Yard Ramps Work?

Yard ramps provide an efficient and effective method for moving heavy items and loads. They use hydraulic systems to raise or lower items to the desired height at speeds that are much faster than traditional industry ramps. Since the hydraulic system consists of only one cylinder, the ramp can be raised more evenly when compared to double-acting ramps.

All that’s required to use a yard ramp is to get it into the correct position. Begin by closing the ramp’s pump release valve, after which the pump handle should be slid into the pump opening. From here, crank the handle until the ramp reaches the proper height. The forklift should then move your ramp until the lip has been positioned over the trailer bed. You can now open the forklift’s release valve to put the ramp in place.

Applications of High-capacity Yard Ramps

High-capacity yard ramps can be used for numerous applications, which include:

  • Warehouse equipment
  • Heavy equipment rentals
  • Vehicle ramps
  • Tractors, bobcats, skid steers, and other types of heavy equipment
  • Flatbed truck loading and unloading
  • Military applications like loading military equipment and vehicles
  • Industrial equipment applications
  • Construction machinery, equipment, and supplies

Yard Ramp Benefits

Yard ramps are designed to boost productivity, maximize space, and enhance safety. Along with durable construction, these ramps offer several additional features.

Easier Operation

The pump is located on the outer portion of the yard ramp, which ensures convenient access.

Faster Raise Times

You can raise the ramp at speeds that are 2.5x faster than traditional ramps.

Less Wear and Tear

Rotation takes place along the positioning sleeve as opposed to the ramp connection, which minimizes the amount of wear and tear.

Greater Stability

The cylinder is located to the center of the ramp, which keeps it stable while you raise or lower it and reduces the possibility of tipping.

Solid-filled Pneumatic Tires

These tires are optimal for rugged terrain and can be used without worrying about air pressure issues or punctures.

Yard Ramp Safety Guidelines

Even though yard ramps are built with safety features in mind, you should still follow some basic safety guidelines when using a forklift on a ramp. First of all, make sure that you read through the owner’s manual before you use the ramp. Only trained employees should operate it.

The ramp must also be secured before any loading or unloading tasks take place. The owner’s manual should provide you with all precautions and instructions pertaining to these tasks. Consider looking through OSHA ramp guidelines as well.

robust mobile yard ramp
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Types of Yard Ramps

There are numerous types of yard ramps, which include everything from mobile yard ramps to portable steel yard ramps.

Mobile Yard Ramps

When you use a mobile yard ramp, you can create a dock in any location that has open yard space. These ramps provide you with an efficient method for loading and unloading your freight with forklifts.

Portable Yard Ramps

This type of ramp is ideal for shipments that are expected to be taken to the truck from ground level. These ramps are typically available in steel and aluminum. The one you choose largely depends on your weight requirements.

Portable Steel Yard Ramps

Portable steel yard ramps are made with premium steel fabrication that includes serrated steel grating for additional traction.

Dock-to-Ground Ramps

Dock-to-ground yard ramps offer a semi-permanent option for your loading and unloading needs. In most cases, these ramps are placed on the dock for fast applications. When using one of these ramps, you can load and unload items that weigh as much as 30,000 pounds.

Ground-to-Truck Yard Ramps

Ground-to-truck ramps provide semi-trucks with easy access to the ground when performing loading and unloading tasks. They are designed to be used in industrial applications and can be purchased in steel and aluminum materials.

Heavy-duty Portable Loading Docks with Dock Platforms

Heavy-duty portable loading docks with dock platforms are meant to be used in facilities that don’t have any permanent docks. You can also position this type of ramp in a facility that doesn’t have much space. This ramp can handle capacities of 60,000 pounds or less.

Yard Ramp Safety Tips

The primary safety tips you should adhere to when using a yard ramp include:

  • Use wheel chocks – Enhance the primary ramp features with equipment accessories like wheel chocks to boost effectiveness. These accessories prevent any dangerous movements while you perform loading tasks.
  • Check equipment capabilities – While yard ramps are built with durable materials, you should never exceed the max load capacity.
  • Secure ramp connection – The lip of the ramp should be properly connected to the truck or dock.
  • Unload on level surface – The ground below the ramp should always be solid.
  • Move at reasonable speeds – Never move at speeds that are higher than 5MPH.
  • Maintain ramp conditions – Look for any signs of damage or rust before using the ramp. The ramp should also have enough hydraulic fluid at all times.
forklift on yard ramp

Yard Ramp FAQ

If you want to safely use the yard ramps you purchase for your facility or loading/unloading dock, the FAQ below should answer any questions you have.

What is the Difference Between a Yard Ramp’s Positioning Sleeve and Towbar?

The positioning sleeve is designed to help you put the ramp in the correct position. As for the towbar, you use it to tow your ramp short distances at a speed of 3-5MPH.

What Kind of Tires are On the Mobile Yard Ramp?

Most mobile yard ramps are outfitted with 18″ pneumatic tires. These tires don’t need to be filled with air.

What are the Height Ranges of the Ramps?

Traditional ramps have a height range of 38″-65″. In comparison, dock-to-ground ramps have a range of 38″-60″.

How are the Ramps Secured?

Ramps are secured to trailers with durable safety chains. All dock-to-ground ramps are designed to be bolted down to the face of your dock with chains and brackets.

Are Rental Yard Ramps Available?

Yard ramps are usually available for rental on a short-term basis.

Can I Use Yard Ramps on a Slope?

It’s highly recommended that you avoid loading and unloading tasks when using a yard ramp on a slope. When hauling a heavy load, make sure that you never travel over a 3-5% gradient. Lighter loads should only be transported over max gradients of 10%.

If you’re using metal yard ramps in your facility, the ground should be almost completely level. If a slope appears to be too steep, forklift operators could be placed in an unsafe position. When freight is carried up a steep incline, there’s a higher risk of the load toppling and causing injury.

Stationary vs. Portable Yard Ramps

Stationary ramps offer extra capacity and can provide you with the means of loading more trucks when compared to a portable yard ramp. On the other hand, portable ramps allow for much quicker and more efficient loading. They use one-cylinder hydraulics to lower or raise to the truck height without delay. The exact yard ramp you select for your facility depends on the applications you’d like to use it for.

Why Choose QMH?

At QMH, we can assist you in performing any warehousing project and will help answer any question you might have about yard ramps and the safety features that come with them. With our many years of experience, you can be confident in the recommendations our experts provide. We’ll also help you choose the best accessories to pair with your yard ramp of choice.


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with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.