Forklift Operating Tips For The Winter

In winter conditions, three main circumstances are bound to interfere with day to day forklift operations, these being the cold weather, snow & ice, the wet and slippery conditions and limited visibility. Additionally, with many seasonal events such as Christmas, warehouses will be continuously in action to keep up with demand, further increasing the need for forklifts related operations.


However, to guarantee a smooth operation, they must be fully aware of how to safely use a forklift in the winter, which is where we are going to help. 


Why you should prepare


Especially in the winter, the colder months can significantly impact the safety of all forklift operations, with one of the first concerns regarding the operators. If they aren’t prepared then they can potentially be at risk of coming ill, injuring themselves or being involved in an accident. Likewise, if the forklift is not correctly operated, then it may become damaged.


Operator protection


  • Weatherproof clothing


With strong winds and rain likely during the colder months, all operators should be wearing appropriate clothing that is not just warm, but also weatherproof. This includes waterproof jackets and trousers, fleece jumpers, gloves, studded boots and goggles, all designed to keep you warm but also safe as you operate the forklift.


  • High-visibility attire


To guarantee that you are visible at all times, every employee should be wearing high-visibility clothing such as jackets, hats and trousers. This is because weather conditions may be unpredictable, so it’s key that you and your team are noticeable from adrift. 


  • Take regular breaks


During winter months, it’s always advised that all operators take regular breaks away from work, ideally in warm, relaxed locations. This is so that they can unwind and warm-up, as well as getting away from the constant mental and physical strain of the weather.  


Forklift protection


  • Forklift covers

Covers for your forklifts are always recommended to avoid weather damage to the seating area, as well as any other key components connected to the vehicle. Several trucks may have a cab already, though this should still be covered to guarantee better protection for the forklift. 


  • Change your tyres


To increase the grip of the vehicle on the road surface, you should equip suitable tyres for winter use. Pneumatic tyres are more suitable over solid tyres, though to further increase traction and stability, chains and studs are also advisable.  


  • Grit the appropriate area


In addition to this, gritting the roads and appropriate areas should be carried out to avoid the vehicles and operators from slipping over and getting stuck. 


Operating the forklift


  • Allow the truck to warm up


Before you even consider starting the forklift, you should make sure that the appropriate fuels are topped-up, with a few of the most important liquids being the fuel, oil and de-icer. This is in addition to giving the truck ample time to properly warm-up before usage, primarily for the hydraulics system but also so that diesel engines can combust successfully. 


  • Appropriate operators


To avoid risk or accidents, injuries and other incidents, only trained operators should be operating the forklift during winter conditions. During the year they should be preparing their knowledge for these occasions, though when it comes to the real situation, only trained operators should be working. 


  • Clean the forklift


Although this may not directly impact the operation immediately, a build-up of dirt, grit and snow could significantly damage the forklift and cause additional issues from occurring. 


Trucks Direct UK


Here at Trucks Direct UK, we are continuously rated as the UK’s number one independent used forklift retailers thanks to our diverse range of forklifts, as well as our first-class customer service. Within our range, we have a selection of electric, diesel and gas forklifts, as well as more sophisticated types including the reach, side-loader and Bendi forklifts.


If you are keen to find out about a specific vehicle that we have on offer, why not get in touch? By calling us on 0121 314 5974, you will be able to speak to one of our consultants who will be more than happy to provide additional information, as well as answer any questions you may have. For general enquiries, customers are advised to drop us a message via our contact page, where we will intend to reply within a single working day.

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