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Forklift Maintenance and Safety Tips to Prepare for Winter

The dropping temperatures late this fall season are a reminder that the winter will be hitting the Chicago area very soon.  The harsh winter weather makes doing anything outside more difficult, including operating a forklift.  Many forklift operators work in environments such as warehouses and loading docks that can be affected by the winter weather.  Forklift accidents almost always increase in the winter, making it very important for operators to properly maintain their equipment and take the necessary safety precautions.  Effective forklift safety and maintenance will help keep your operators protected and avoid penalties from OSHA as they tend to visit areas in which forklifts are used during the winter.

The following forklift safety and maintenance tips will help you safely operate your forklift and keep your equipment functioning in harsh winter weather.

Dress Warm

Many work environments such as warehouses and loading docks are cold in the winter so forklift operators must dress warm.  Wear a warm windproof coat as well as hats and gloves to stay warm.  Dressing in layers helps and make sure to wear bright colors so you are easily seen.  It is very important to keep your entire body warm because numb fingers and toes can lead to a mistake when driving the forklift that can cause an accident.

RHI-Lifts-Forklift-Maintenance-and-Safety-Tips-to-Prepare-for-WinterInspect the Tires

Cold weather causes forklift tires to lose air faster so always make sure to check the tire pressure before operation.  You should also consider replacing the tires with ones more suitable for winter operation.  Pneumatic tires handle harsh conditions better than traditional tires and you can also use chains or studs on the tires to help with traction.  Make sure you check the treads as well because bald tires are dangerous in wet or icy conditions.

Provide Regular Forklift Maintenance

Make sure you fully inspect your forklift before operating it and take care of any needed maintenance.  This includes checking the lighting, fuel and fluid levels, starters, and other forklift parts that are important for safe operation.  You should also check the conditions before operation so you can prepare your forklift accordingly.  Regular inspections and maintenance will help you prevent your forklift from breaking down in harsh conditions.

Winter Attachments

There are several winter attachments available that you can install on your forklift to better handle the conditions.  These attachments are especially handy for working outdoors in the winter.  A plow or scoop attachment can push or lift snow out of the way and a salt spreader or sander can help melt ice and snow while providing traction.  Winter forklift attachments are optional and are the most helpful if the forklift is used outdoors during the winter.

Clear Indoor Areas

During the winter, it is easy for snow, slush, and ice to get tracked into a warehouse.  You must keep indoor paths clear of this debris and other objects for safe operation.

As the winter approaches, make sure you prepare your forklifts and discuss proper winter maintenance with your operators.  These simple forklift safety tips will help prevent accidents that could lead to employee injury or costly damage.  If any forklifts in your fleet breakdown or sustain any type of damage from winter operation, contact RHI Lifts for our forklift maintenance services.  We provide full forklift repair and maintenance services in the Chicago area and we also offer maintenance plans to keep your forklifts in good repair.