5 Forklift Safety Tips for Winter Weather

Whether it’s rain, snow, sleet or a combination of all of the above, inclement weather is an unfortunate reality in most parts of the country. And, as those who work in busy construction and warehouse settings know, the job can’t stop when the weather turns nasty. However, it’s important to ensure that your worksite is as safe as possible, which means understanding basic forklift safety  tips for winter weather.

Forklifts are among the most important equipment on many worksites, so they have to be operating at optimum conditions in all types of weather to make sure the business is on track for success. While the machinery itself has to be in prime shape for winter, so do those who operate it, who must take proper precautions to protect themselves, their co-workers and their site.

Here are five of the top forklift safety tips for winter weather so you can make both safety and success a reality this winter:


Slow Down

Visibility can be a serious issue in winter weather. With the sun setting earlier, wind whipping and precipitation like sleet and snow common, forklift operators can be significantly challenged as they navigate their site. All workers should be urged to wear brightly colored clothing or vests to ensure they see one another, and operators should be given specific instructions to reduce speeds, specifically when navigating hills or turning corners, when visibility could be compromised. Surfaces may also be slick with precipitation, so keeping speeds down, particularly when navigating uneven ground, is advisable.

Know Your Limits

It can be tempting for operators to resist coming off a site early, but when winter weather strikes, it may be necessary. Cold stress, which includes hypothermia and frostbite, is a serious condition that can become a reality when workers remain outdoors in extreme weather conditions.


Dress Warm

Layering up for outdoor activity is a given in the winter, and a few extra steps should be taken when operating forklifts. OSHA recommends an inner layer of wool or silk to provide extra insulation and contain heat. Hats, heavy gloves, and wind-proofing clothing are also a must for outdoor work.


Inspect Your Equipment

Regular inspections are a necessity for all forklifts, and must especially be conducted in the winter. When a storm is coming, perform a full inspection [link to /tips-on-forklift-inspection/], with special attention to the radiator, lights, tires and power source.


Update Your Equipment

While many of the forklift safety tips for winter weather focus on the operators, the equipment itself must also be prepared. Any issues spotted in an inspection should be addressed immediately, as a potential breakdown during a storm could mean the costly removal of the forklift from the fleet, or could even lead to an accident and injuries.

If you’re looking to update or upgrade your forklift machinery, consider purchasing a used forklift from National Forklift Exchange. We offer top manufacturers at competitive prices and we even ship worldwide. Browse our extensive inventory featuring all different types of lifts and reach out to our team for help finding the perfect piece of equipment for your jobsite.


About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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