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Forklift Safety Tips for Outdoor Use

Summer is here in the Chicago area which means that much more work can be done outdoors.  There are certain instances when you may need to use a forklift outdoors such as loading or unloading a truck and transporting loads to and from the warehouse.  Operating heavy machinery such as forklifts outdoors can be more difficult because the environment poses different challenges that a forklift operator does not face indoors.  All forklift operators, regardless of their level of experience, should follow these forklift safety tips to ensure safe outdoor forklift operation.

Always Be Alert

Many forklift operators get to know their indoor environments well but there are many things outdoors not found in indoor environments that can compromise your safety.  You must always be alert and aware of your surroundings outdoors as tree branches, rocks, uneven surfaces, and even wildlife can pose a potential hazard.  Make sure you stay focused on your surroundings and communicate with your team members so you aren’t caught off guard by any surprises.

Forklifts Safety Tips for Outdoor UseBe Mindful of Hot Conditions

The temperature this summer has already reached high into the 90s only a few weeks into the season.  If you do any work outside in the next couple of months, chances are you will be working in hot or humid conditions.  It is important to keep yourself protected in the heat by taking regular breaks and drinking plenty of water.  By staying hydrated and alert in hot conditions, you can minimize your risk of illness or injury.

Check the Weather Forecast

Before doing any work outside, it is wise to check the weather forecast for that day.  Adverse weather conditions such as wind and rain can have an effect on outdoor forklift operation.  The rain can cause several issues as wet pavement can lead to poor traction which greatly increases the risk of accidents.  Forklifts may also get stuck in the mud which can cause stalling.  This is why it is important to always pay attention to the terrain because muddy and wet conditions from previous rainfall can cause issues on a clear day.  Checking the weather before beginning any work is the best way to plan out which jobs can be done and what may have to wait.

Be Aware of Every Surface

The surface plays a large role in safe forklift operation.  While many indoor surfaces are consistent, outdoor surfaces may vary widely from pavement to gravel or dirt and they can also be uneven.  Grading is another issue that may not exist indoors as you may be required to drive your forklift up or down hill on outdoor surfaces.  Forklift operators must be aware of the outdoor surfaces that they are working on so that they are prepared for the coarseness or unevenness.  It is also a good idea for forklift operators to receive training on driving a forklift on dirt or gravel surfaces.

It feels good to work outdoors sometimes and if you operate a forklift outside, make sure to follow these safety tips to make the experience more enjoyable.  Whether you are indoors or out, safety should always be a top priority when operating heaving machinery such as forklifts.  For more safety tips or information about forklift operator training, contact RHI Lifts by calling (847) 447-0700.