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Forklifts are rugged, industrial vehicles designed to perform even under the worst weather conditions. Forklift operators, not so much.
Humans feel the cold in winter and get uncomfortably soaked when it rains. So while forklifts usually will perform under less than ideal weather conditions, forklift operators are a whole other story. To get the most out your vehicles, you need to provide a comfortable driving experience for the people who drive them.
Fortunately, there are forklift accessories that will keep drivers warm, dry, and safe so that operations can continue even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Creating a Barrier between Driver and Elements
When it rains or snows, drivers won’t perform at their best. Even the toughest forklift operator is going to feel the effects of moisture when driving their vehicle in the rain, sleet, or snow.
Providing a barrier between the forklift cabin and the outside elements can eliminate the inconvenience of operating under wet conditions. How big a barrier you need depends on how the forklift is being used.
For example, a covering for the top of the forklift cabin is often enough to prevent drivers from getting wet in a gentle rain or during a snowstorm. But if the operator is working in heavy or driving rains, a full forklift enclosure that covers the walls, rear, and front of the vehicle cabin may be needed to get the job done.
When drivers are dry, they can keep going in the rain or snow. When conditions clear, a forklift enclosure barrier can be easily removed and stored away for next time.
Keeping Operators Warm
Temperature is another major impediment to productive forklift operations. When it gets too cold, drivers not only are physically uncomfortable but also in danger. Hypothermia and frostbite are genuine risks, especially when drivers operate in conditions below freezing (32 degrees F).
Cold storage warehouses present their own risks. Freezer temperatures typically are held at 0 degrees F or below. At those low temperatures, drivers’ motor functions can quickly deteriorate and the risk of hypothermia increases exponentially the longer they are exposed to freezing conditions.
There are two solutions to keep drivers warm. The first is to provide cold weather gear for operators to wear that keeps them warm in freezing conditions. Insulated coveralls, thick hats, and special gloves can help drivers maintain body temperature while driving in and out of freezers or working outdoors in cold weather.
Another option is to enclose the forklift cabin then increase atmospheric temperature with a portable heater. Heaters designed for forklifts draw power from the vehicle’s motor to provide heat to keep operators warm, safe, and productive.
While most forklifts will work under poor atmospheric conditions, many drivers won’t. Forklift accessories can help keep your crew going longer even when the weather is cold or wet.