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Keeping Your Forklift Safe Through Winter

Wear Winter-Appropriate Clothing

It is crucial to stay as warm as possible in the winter to avoid succumbing to infectious illness and conditions such as hypothermia. Winter-appropriate clothing must be worn to maintain thermal comfort. Whereas a cold forklift driver is more likely to make a costly mistake in hazardous winter conditions, a warm driver will perform better in these circumstances.

Insulation is more effective than layers at maintaining thermal comfort because insulating clothing traps warm air and helps keeps the body temperature at safe levels. Synthetic fibres dry quicker than natural fibres, and wet clothes can kill in cold weather, thus natural fibers should be eschewed for synthetic fibers in winter conditions. Layers over insulation can prevent chill winds penetrating insulated clothing.

Be sure to wear heavy duty gloves to protect hands from the cold. Frostbite can come on quickly if due care and attention is not paid.

Service History

Forklifts should only be operated when their service history is fully traceable. If a forklift’s service history is not readily available then it might be possible to discover it upon making the relevant inquiries. The manufacturer, any past operators and garages that have performed maintenance work on the forklift may be able to help. The safety of a forklift cannot be ascertained without full knowledge of its service history.

Maintain Visibility

Inclement weather and shorter days can and will impair visibility during the winter months. It can get dark before the working day is over, whilst snow, rain, sleet and fog can be blinding even in the daylight hours. Poor visibility is a major cause of accidents so efforts must be made, as far as it is possible, to ensure that the forklift and its operator can be seen by others and that the driver’s vision is not impaired.

Lights must be functional to illuminate the darkness and penetrate any visibility-reducing haze in the sky, as well as alerting other drivers and pedestrians of the forklift’s presence. Furthermore, all obstacles within the cabin that could obscure the driver’s field of vision must be removed. Just as the forklift should be visible, so must the driver, and a high visibility jacket ought to be worn as an extra precaution.

Perform Daily and Weekly Checks

It is essential to perform daily and weekly checks on a forklift to ensure everything is in working order. Fuel levels need monitoring, mirrors should be intact, lights must work, lift and tilt systems must be in good condition, horn and reverse beeper must be audible. Faulty brakes, handbrakes and steering are dangerous, posing the threat of the driver losing control of the forklift. The tines should be checked for damage, such as dents, cracks and bends, to avoid mishaps.

Do Not Rush

It is of the utmost importance to operate the forklift with due caution and care in order to avoid accidents. One must resist the temptation to rush, however desirable a speedy resolution to one’s allotted tasks may be. The ground is likely to become frozen hard and icy during winter, posing the threat of the forklift slipping and sliding, causing injury and destruction.

Written by East Midlands Forklifts, the leading providers of forklifts for sale and hire in the region. Our expert team are also on hand to carry out thorough examinations of all forklifts to check that they are safe for operation through the winter months, performing repairs where necessary.

Get in touch today for more information.


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