Loading ramps are one of the simplest ideas in life, and one that has undoubtedly been around in one form or another for centuries if not millennia. Having that simple slope up to your vehicle, skip, building site or even up a set of steps, can make the users life considerably easier. It is also true that having a correctly positioned and secured loading ramp can be of great benefit to the health and safety of those needing to use it. The loading ramp will help minimise heavily lifting as well as related trips and falls from maneuvering heavy items in preparation for lifts or lifting excessive weights.
For your loading ramp to provide the best, and more importantly safest, results it is vitally important that the ramp is correctly secured. All of our loading ramps come with clear and precise securing methods that are detailed with the products instructions, but there is more to mounting a loading ramp correctly that making sure it is secure.
Choosing the right loading ramp
When purchasing a loading ramp, it is important to consider a range of factors other than merely price. The length, material, construction, type of rung, types of surface and maximum load of the ramp are all important parts of the decision as well, and if any of them aren’t right for your situation then you are going to have a less than perfect experience.
The length of your loading ramp will need to be suitable for the height of the mounting point to make sure that it provides a suitably shallow slope. If the ramp is too steep, then you are going to find it more difficult to load anything using it. Most ramps are designed for use in specific ways and with specific types of vehicle and loads, as such this is normally a consideration that your usage will probably answer naturally. The type of rung and construction of the ramp as well as the surface type will all be factors that the manufacturers will have considered when designing the ramp, and as a result you will find ramps that have been designed to handle vehicles with treads or specifically rubber wheels and alike. This is not to say that they are single purpose, just that is this is the intended usage. The most important factor is the ramps maximum load. You should always ensure this meets or exceeds the maximum load of the trailer or UTE you are mounting it to so that neither the ramp or the vehicle are damaged by loading amounts that one can handle but the other cannot.
For most standard uses with UTE’s, we would recommend our ATV range of ramps as they are designed for light to medium usage and are perfect for most normal UTE owners to get the most efficient and cost-effective ramps for their vehicles.
Attaching your loading ramp
Depending on your vehicle and the ramp you have purchased, the method of securing it to your vehicle will vary. Continuing the example of our ATV range, these ramps can be secured via two main methods. Firstly, they come with a predrilled fixing hole in the center of the top point of the ramp so that a steel pin can be slotted through and into your vehicle if it has the fixing points to accommodate this method. Alternatively, as with almost any ramp, they can be mounted using hooks and straps.
- Before attempting to mount any loading ramp, you should make certain that the vehicle is secured. The handbrake should be applied and ideally the vehicle should be left in gear to prevent it rolling should the handbrake fail. If you are loading to a trailer rather than a UTE tray, then you should also check that the couplings between the trailer and vehicle are secure.
- Carefully place your ramps in position and inspect the ground for any large obstructions such as stones or branches. If your ramp has hooks on its top to attach it to your vehicle, make sure that these are flush and fully in the sockets intended for them. If the angle looks good and the ramps appear reasonably symmetrical then you can apply the steel pin if the ramps use one.
- Secure a strap or steel safety cable to the rung of the ramp that is second closest to the vehicle and loop your strap or hook around this. If you are using a steel safety cable, make certain that the locking nut is tightly fastened.
- Locate the fixing point under the trailer or on the back of your UTE and fasten the other end of your strap or cable to this. Remove all of the slack from your chosen securing method and when you think you have it tight attempt to move the loading ramps. If they have any degree of movement in them then you need to tighten the straps or cables some more. Keep tightening and checking until there is no movement from the ramps.
Here at SureWeld, we pride ourselves on the quality of our products and sadly the biggest cause of accidents is human error. When using your loading ramp, approach it slowly and steadily, especially if it is the first time since mounting and securing it. This will allow you to develop a general feel for the ramp and the angle it is set at, making you far less likely to trip or stumble. If you are loading a powered vehicle of some description, such as a ride on lawnmower or a quad bike, then it is best practice to send the drive wheels up the ramp first. This allows the machine to grip the ramp better and helps minimise the chances of it tipping or rolling whilst being loaded. This can mean approaching your ramps in reverse if the vehicle being loaded is rear wheel drive.
Regardless of your reasons for buying loading ramps, ensure you follow this advice and keep yourself and others safe when using them.