1) Forward Planning
Guarantee yourself and all your forklift operators are fully up to date with their winter weather operating procedures. It is always a good idea to ensure that your workforce is regularly reminded of the techniques for safe working with and around forklift trucks.
The winter months often throw a curveball when it comes to operating a forklift truck, by giving your machine a regular maintenance check-up you will minimise the chance of malfunction and keep your forklift running smoothly all year round.
3) Keep your operating areas clear
Ice is a huge factor when it comes to safely operating your forklift truck throughout winter. When operating your forklift truck in icy conditions, the risk of accident rises sharply. To avoid this, ensure that all areas that will be used to operate your forklift are suitably gritted.
4) Check your forklift’s fluids before use
All machinery is at risk of harm if operating when vital liquids are frozen. Despite the durability of forklift engines, they are not 100% resistant to damage. In abnormally cold temperatures, the composition of Diesel can alter into a thick, gel-like substance. Not only can operating a forklift truck in this condition have detrimental consequences, but it will also heavily restrict your machines performance. Always check your forklift’s fluids are in working order before you begin operation.
5) Implement a pre-use checklist
Your forklift is much more susceptible to damage throughout the winter months. To avoid accident and injury, implement a pre-use checklist assuring there is no visible damage to your machine prior to each use.
6) Prepare your tyres
On top of making sure all operating areas are well gritted, we also recommend enhancing your tyres for winter use. Attachments such as tyre chains are a great addition to your forklift over the winter months, improving the safety of both your machine and your operator in icy and snowy conditions.
7) Allow the forklift to warm up before use
Allow your forklift truck to heat up appropriately before use. If you do not allow your engine to warm, this can not only increase your fuel consumption but also leave your hydraulics and engine at risk of damage. Allowing time for your forklift to warm up also gives you time to check that yourself or your operator is adequately dressed for the weather conditions.
8) Dress appropriately for the weather
It goes without saying that when entering an environment with harsh weather conditions, you should always dress suitably. When operating a forklift truck in winter conditions, we recommend you not only wear a winter coat but a hat and gloves as well. We also recommend that you wear high-visibility clothing so that your presence is always known, even when vision is not great. Research suggests that when cold, a person’s concentration and reaction time is impaired.
9) Be cautious when operating your forklift truck
Finally, drive with care. Allow your surroundings to dictate how you drive. Limit your speed, use your lights and alarms, maintain clear windows and ensure you are being fully vigilant when driving your forklift truck.