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Runway and Ramp Safety

Runways and ramps are commonly used on jobsites to gain entry to areas where people are working or loads of material needs to be moved. Runways are usually narrow pathways of boards laid on the ground, between scaffolding or spanning the ground of a building wall or foundation. A ramp is an inclined runway.

Image result for safety rampAlthough ramps and runways are an integral part of every jobsite – making it easier to move material, work in elevated areas and gain access to work areas – when not properly constructed, the systems can be a potential hazard to workers and can damage materials.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that any ramp or runway at a height of four feet or greater above the ground must have a guardrail.

In addition, ramps and runways must have bracing installed a minimum of every 12 feet in order to help support the weight of loads and the workers. Also, ramps should be installed so that they are rigid, and do not bounce or shift when used.

Foot and equipment traffic should be managed on ramps and runways. This prevents having too many people on the structures at any one time, which may exceed the load capacity. In addition, do not stop on a ramp or runway when pushing or carrying a load. A continuous flow helps ensure the stability of a ramp or runway.

To provide improved traction for workers and equipment on ramps, cleats must be installed about the width of a person’s stride.

Several other safety precautions when working on or near ramps and runways include:

  • Keep them free from job debris.
  • Provide suitable traction.
  • Consider standard guardrails (with or without toe-boards) on both sides to prevent falls.
  • Ramps with a minimum width of 18 inches may have only one guardrail.
  • Give plenty of clearance when workers are carrying or pushing materials.
  • Never work under a ramp or runway; the load may wind up on you.


Neff Rental believes that working safely and having safety systems on jobsites, helps ensure that workers go home at the end of the workday. For more information about Neff Rental, visit or call 888-709-NEFF.

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