Using Your Forklift in Cold Weather

There is cold weather across large parts of the country. Now is a good time to take stock of specific practices you should implement in order to promote safe forklift handling during the deepest part of the winter months.

Cold weather presents some natural safety challenges for the forklift operator. Firstly, the engine uses more fuel and is more difficult to start. The cold weather thickens oil fluids. This makes it so that your engine uses up more fuel to warm up the oil. Therefore, it is important that you make sure your engine is well-oiled and lubricated at all times. You should also keep more gas in the tank than you would during the warmer months. In the wintertime, your equipment also gets dirtier much quicker. It is important that you clean it more often, limiting the potential for parts of your transmission to get blocked or clogged.

With their top-heavy shape, forklifts are relatively dangerous vehicles even in the best of conditions. In winter months, the dangers are only exacerbated, as icy conditions can wreak havoc on your traction. Therefore, make sure that you grit your workplace environment with some regularity. Wintertime maintenance means plowing, salting, and sanding. If you do not already have a functional plow, you would do well to purchase one. It is also important to make sure that your wipers and heaters are in order. Nobody wants to get caught in a snowstorm unprepared! However, you really don’t want to suffer through dangerous conditions without the necessary equipment.

Try to limit the amount of time you spend outside during winter, in general. It gets darker earlier, and the limited visibility can pose real work hazards. When it gets dark, you become less likely to notice ice or dangers that are normally more visible. Do your best to end your work day before it gets too dark outside to continue to work safely.

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