10 Forklift Truck Safety Tips For Winter
As summer comes to an end and autumn and winter roll around, it is important to start applying forklift truck safety tips for the colder weather.
The elements can have a significant impact on a business’s productivity, especially ones which use forklift trucks outside.
Trucks Direct is here to support you, with our top 10 tips for safe forklift operation in the colder months to come.
Grit all operation areas
Like a car, forklifts require a gritted surface to get moving in colder conditions. If you’re operating your forklift outside, you should grit all the areas it will encounter to give it the best chance in the cold conditions.
Grit works by lowering the temperature at which the water will freeze. Road grit is made from rock salt, creating a more saline solution when mixed with water. A more saline solution will require colder conditions to freeze fully, making grit an effective solution to winter conditions on the road.
Much like it is used to get your car going in the morning, grit should be used when required to ensure safe forklift operation.
Equip your tyres for the weather conditions
In addition to gritting the road surface for better grip, your tyres should also be equipped to operate in colder conditions. This is done typically by using tyre chains or studs.
These work by increasing the traction between the tyre and the road surface, making operating a forklift in icy or snowy conditions a lot easier.
Properly equipping your tyres for winter conditions will help to prevent you from skidding or losing control of your forklift.
Always carry out your pre-shift checks
Carrying out pre-shift checks is not seasonally dependent and should be done all year round. However, they are especially critical in the winter months.
The risk of forklift accidents is statistically higher in the winter months, which makes checking your machinery before usage, essential.
You can read our full guide on pre-shift checks at Trucks Direct.
Warm up your forklift before usage
Again, much like a car, a forklift that has been exposed to cold conditions will need to warm up before usage.
This is important for the health of both the engine and your machine’s hydraulics; without warming up the truck you run the risk of wear and tear to your machine as well as an increased risk of accidents.
So, don’t rush, and give your forklift truck time to warm up before using it this winter.
Wear weather-appropriate clothing
This tip is more for your personal safety. Cold weather can impact your response times and driving ability in general, if you’re not wrapped up warm.
Typically, cold weather will require a good few layers of clothing, a hat and gloves to ensure that you are safe and comfortable in the lower temperatures.
Likewise, the days are shorter in winter and therefore it gets and stays dark a lot quicker. Therefore, where possible you should be equipped with hi-visibility clothing whilst operating a forklift.
Protect the machine between uses
If you use your forklift truck outside then this is a key part of safe winter forklift usage. Most models will come with an enclosed cabin, in which the driver sits. However, some trucks don’t and therefore require a forklift cover to be protected in the winter months.
This is an important investment for the winter months, as it will protect your forklift between uses, making it ready for the next task.
Additionally, the machine should be stored in an appropriate location, and not outside.
Keep a close eye on the fluids
Ever had your car fluids frozen? The same can be said for forklift trucks.
This is especially important for those who use diesel forklifts, as diesel is the hardest hit by cold conditions. It is said to take on a jelly–like form, making operation very difficult. This can lead to decreased productivity and most importantly, some expensive damage to your machine.
So, always check your forklift’s fluids before operation.
The increase in demand during the winter makes your forklift more vulnerable to damage. Therefore carrying out regular and thorough maintenance on your machine is essential.
Trucks Direct not only stocks and supplies the UK with quality forklift trucks, but also has an extensive after-sales process.
You can get in touch with the team to discuss forklift maintenance today.
Drive with extra caution
As with any vehicle, driving with extra caution is always recommended in winter conditions. The same can be applied to forklift operations in winter conditions.
Slippery surfaces and decreased visibility can cause you all sorts of trouble in the winter months.
Do your planning or training in advance
All of the tips we have listed are good ideas to improve your winter forklift usage. However, they will work most efficiently when forklift operators are advised in advance. This way, the operators can go into the cold seasons prepared, and ready to adapt to the upcoming winter conditions.
Get ready for winter with Trucks Direct
Winter and autumn are fast approaching. Now you’ve read our guide about forklift truck safety tips in the winter, you can browse our full range of durable forklifts.