Winter is rapidly approaching, and with it comes colder nights and harsher weather conditions. Which means that it’s also time to consider how these weather changes are going to impact operating a forklift safely.
Whether you’re using a counterbalance forklift truck, a reach forklift truck, or any other type of forklift – you need to prepare yourself for the winter driving conditions by focusing on some key areas.
The wintry season generally means more fog, rain, hail, snow, mud and ice. But it also means shorter amounts of daylight, which can severely impact visibility. Being able to clearly see the environment around you is even more essential when operating a forklift, so get prepared by following these recommendations:
- Thoroughly inspect the warehouse/facility you’re operating in for adequate lighting.
- Always remove any ice and mud from the windshield of your forklift before driving it. And check that the lights and wipers are functioning properly.
- The cold can distract you from safely operating your forklift, so always wear appropriate warm winter clothing, such as rain gear, gloves, and hats that don’t restrict visibility.
- Any pedestrians working in forklift areas need to be wearing high visibility clothing at all
Ice, snow and heavy rain can dramatically change the operating surface that you’re driving the forklift on, hindering manoeuvrability. Here’s how you can prepare:
- Exercise more caution in areas near doorways into the building or sloping parts of the floor. These spots can often get wet or icy as a result of forklift traffic.
- Stopping distance will be effected when surfaces are slippery. Therefore it’s best to increase your following distance. You could also use traction devices such as chains for outdoor driving as necessary.
- Make sure you use de-icers or salt to melt the ice in effected areas.
Keep in mind that ice or snow may end up on the forks of your forklift truck, as well as on dunnage or on the bottom of any loads you’re carrying, causing them to shift on the forks. This is why it’s a good idea to allow the forklift’s hydraulics to warm up first, to improve their functionality.
- Ensure any snow is cleaned off the forks before picking up a load.
- Reduce your speed when transporting loads, and when cornering.
- Wait until any load you’re stacking is almost in position before tilting forward.
Please, contact us today on 0800 298 8790 for more information.