Accidents often occur when we move materials on the worksite. Some estimates suggest that when we move materials, it takes up about 20 to 30 percent of the time spent on a worksite. Given that statistic, we must consider possible hazards when we move materials and do some pre-planning to ensure site safety.
Ramps or runways can help us move materials safely. During the pre-planning, consider what the ramp or runway will carry, the best materials you need to build it and where you will position it. Construct the ramp to bear the load you intend for it to carry. A collapsed ramp or runway can cause material and work-in-place damage, physical injury to workers and job delays.
General safety rules for ramps and runways include:
- Build the ramp’s travel surface with suitable traction.
- Make sure the angle of the ramp or runway isn’t too steep, and build cleats into the walkway.
- Consider standard guardrails (with or without a toeboard) on both sides to prevent falls.
- Never exceed a twelve-foot span (maximum) without bracing.
- Give plenty of clearance between the ramp and other structures, so workers aren’t in danger of ramming materials or other workers into the walls.
- Don’t overload a ramp or runway with people or materials. Don’t stop on a ramp or runway; keep moving.
- Never work under a ramp or runway; the load may end up on you.
- Keep ramps and runways in good repair. Replace guardrails and bracing as needed.
- Keep the surface free of all debris.
Remember, failure to erect safe and accessible ramps and runways creates a dangerous work environment.