​What You Need To Know About Operating a Forklift In Winter


​What You Need To Know About Operating a Forklift In Winter

​What You Need To Know About Operating a Fork…

27th Oct 2019

Question: What are some of the factors to consider about operating a forklift during winter? 

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 back up batteries to reduce downtime in case the batteries that you have is 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.

For more traction make use of tire stud or chains for better grip on surfaces that are covered in slippery snow. Gritting the surfaces to reduce snow cover is also important.

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. 

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