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Grade Reading Made Simple

One of the most important tasks on the work site is grade reading. If you are going to be working on an incline, or smoothing sloped roads and such, then you’ll need to learn how to read grades. There are two ways to calculate a slope. You can use a gradient measure communicated as a percentage or express it as an angle of the slope.

Grades, or slopes, can be measured for any type of terrain: roads, canyons, hillsides, river banks, railroads, or any terrain feature with a slope.

You should imagine the terrain feature as a triangle. You have a distance, called the run, and an angle, called the rise. To figure the percentage of the grade for a road, railroad, or other motorway, you calculate the percentage of the rise over the run multiplied by 100.

So if your run is 100 feet and your rise is 2 feet over the course of that 100 feet, then your slope is 2%.

You’ll learn all about grade reading in heavy equipment school. Your instructor will break it down for you and give you plenty of practical experience in reading and calculating grades so that when you get your first job you are so practiced you can do it without thinking about it. You’ll have no problem getting your first heavy equipment job if you learn the skills necessary to keep you employed once you get there.

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