Businesses operate and function more efficiently with the use of forklifts. Even the use of a generic forklift can transform the performance of a business. It is important that forklifts are safely operated and safely used by employees. We are rapidly approaching the winter months now in the UK, therefore it’s important to reiterate the importance of operating an outdoor forklift safely in such adverse weather conditions.

Winter hazards include:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Strong winds
  • Reduced visibility due to fog/mist/condensation

The change in temperature and weather conditions can affect the reliability of forklifts, but in addition to this employees should take steps and precautions to prevent accidents.

5 Tips

Suitable Clothing

  • Employees operating forklifts should wear high-visibility jackets to ensure they will be seen in conditions where visibility is reduced.
  • Thermal undergarments, a hat and gloves, fleece jumpers and a waterproof/windproof jacket should be worn by staff ensuring they are warm in the cold conditions.

Additional Forklift Features and Changes

  • Cover your forklift with a high quality cover and also ensure that nothing on the forklift is left open (this will prevent water/ice/snow from entering parts of the forklift).
  • Ensure your forklift has the correct tyres for winter weather conditions such as ice/snow. Pneumatic tyres are more suitable for bad conditions. If pneumatic tyres aren’t appropriate, tyre chains and studs can be used.
  • The lighting on the forklift might need to be altered if the bulbs aren’t suitable for visibility in fog/mist. Check all lights are working before using.

Extra Forklift Maintenance

  • Extra maintenance is important in the winter months.

React to the Weather

  • Slow down and drive to the conditions surrounding you and the forklift.
  • Put grit down in the areas where the forklift will be operating if snow/ice is predicted.
  • Put additional floodlighting in the areas where the forklift will be operating.

Daily Checks

  • Complete checks daily before using the forklift (this should be done anyway). Ensure you always follow the advised daily/weekly checks in the instruction manual.