All You Need To Know About Operating A Forklift In Winter


All You Need To Know About Operating A Forklift In Winter

All You Need To Know About Operating A Forkli…

11th Oct 2021

Winter conditions usually present a fresh challenge when it comes to forklift operation even for experienced forklift operators. Some of the major problems that usually arise are the freezing temperatures, slippery conditions and the reduced visibility in cases where the conditions are too extreme.

It goes without question then that the maintenance and operation of your forklift during winter should be designed to meet these demands.

Tips For Proper Care Of the Forklift

  • Purchase forklift covers for your forklift to protect them from the consequences of frequent exposure to wind and rain.
  • Schedule preventative maintenance before the start of the cold season and schedule frequent maintenance to keep them in top working condition.
  • Provide backup batteries to reduce downtime in case the batteries that you have are affected by the freezing temperatures.
  • Seclude a dry area for charging and storage of the batteries. You should also make use of battery warmers.
  • Refresher training on operating the forklift in winter will also prove crucial for keeping the forklifts damage-free.

Apart from the proper care of the forklift, you should also take the following measures to ensure maximum safety.

Provide Appropriate Clothing To Operators

Freezing winter temperatures usually expose operators to the risk of developing hypothermia and frostbites. Therefore, ensure that you provide your operators with warm anti-freeze clothing to keep off the low temperatures.

The right clothing for winter should provide them with up to three layers of clothing to trap enough air for maximum warmth. Some of the P.P.E that you should provide them with are fleece jackets, warm jackets and insulated hats that will prevent heat loss via the head.

Prepare For Slippery Conditions

Winter will also present layers of ice or wet surfaces both of which are very slippery. Forklift operators or any other workers that you might have onsite should wear warm safety boots which offer a non-slip grip on wet surfaces. Such boots will also prove useful while operating the forklift.

The boots should also be waterproof to prevent the chance of water sipping in and making the operator uncomfortable affecting their concentration. Since the traction of the forklift tires is reduced in such slippery conditions, ensure their treads are also not worn out. Gritting the surfaces to reduce snow cover is also important.

For more traction make use of tire studs or chains for better grip on surfaces that are covered in slippery snow.

While the tire chains are usually meticulously wrapped around the tires the studs are drilled in them carefully without causing them any damage. Of what benefit are these two options? Read on to find out.

Helps Regain Traction

The forklift tires usually come with treads that are supposed to give them traction on normal surfaces. However, this is usually inefficient when it comes to running over accumulated snow that is also mixed with ice as the tires slide off which very is unsafe. Therefore, the only way you can make your forklift tires regain traction is by going for the tire chains or tire studs. They will make it very easy for you to operate on the snow quite effortlessly and with regular speed as if you were on dry ground.

Helps Breaks Down the Ice

A frozen surface can be very dangerous to operate on with naked tires as it is slippery. This can lead to forklifts crushing and causing avoidable accidents and damages. Tire chains help reduce the chances of this happening as they crush into the ice influenced by the weight of the forklift. The end result is that the ice will break up into tiny chunks. These tiny chunks are easy to operate on as they improve the overall traction of the tires making the forklift more controllable.

Helps During Turning

Making a turn in a snow-filled surface remains one of the toughest things to do for a forklift operator. However, the tire chains solve this problem perfectly as they help stabilize the forklift enough for it to be able to make a turn without tipping over. The stabilization of the forklift is simply due to the tire chains crushing into the ice to give the forklift a higher level of traction than is possible using the normal tires.

Therefore next time you have some work in winter when there is an accumulation of a mix of snow and ice don't get stressed about it. Just make sure you get your tires fitted with some tire chains or tire studs. They leverage the weight of the forklift to ensure they break into the ice and improve traction of the forklift. You will then have an easy time operating the truck, especially during turns which are commonplace in forklift operation.

Improve Visibility Around The Work Environment

Some adverse winter conditions will reduce the visibility of both heavy machinery and pedestrians which is a major accident risk. To counter this you should provide your workers with high visibility reflective safety jackets to ensure their presence is noticeable.

You can also set up modern lighting systems like powerful floodlights that are efficient in such conditions. If your operations involve high use of heavy machinery you should designate separate areas for the truck traffic and the human traffic.

The operators should also maintain the lowest speeds in such conditions.

Winter is probably coming and there is no reason why you should not be prepared for it. Ensure your forklift is given proper care by forklift maintenance service professionals. Provide your operators with P.P.E that are meant to counter the cold temperatures. Ensure that you also equip your operators with non-slip boots and make use of tire chains and studs. Finally, if the visibility is not the best ensure you install floodlights.

Forklift Tire Company is one of the largest suppliers of forklift tires in the USA. We are happy to help you find the right tires for your forklift truck. Visit our online store Forklift Tire . Com for great discounts or email us at, our customer service team is always ready to assist you.