Tips for Operating Heavy Machinery in Winter

November 27, 2019 12:41 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Business doesn’t stop just because the weather gets cold, but the weather can create more problems than it solves. Heavy machinery use in the winter in Texas can present a variety of issues, from health risks to problems with safe operation. Read on to find out how you can keep yourself and your workers safe all year long.

Machinery problems

  • Take care of your battery: Batteries don’t like the cold any more than you do, so be careful with it. If you incorrectly jumpstart a battery in the freezing weather, it can damage the electrical system, and if you improperly charge it, it could explode.
  • Let your forklift warm up first: Just like you’d warm up your car before driving it in the winter, warm up your forklift or other heavy machinery first. The low temperatures can damage the equipment by causing stress.
  • Be cautious about traction: Winter weather is icy and slippery, which can make it difficult for your forklift to gain enough traction. If the ground is frozen, be cautious.
  • Clean your windows: Obviously, having clean windows is a good thing no matter what time of year it is—but in winter, frost and condensation are problems. Keep your windows clear in order to avoid visibility issues like blind spots, and ensure that the defroster is always in good running order.

Health problems

  • Never touch metal with bare hands: Anyone who’s seen A Christmas Story knows this one: touching frozen metal with your bare skin can cause serious tissue damage. You and your workers should always wear gloves.
  • Watch out for trench foot: Trench foot, also known as immersion foot syndrome, happens when your feet are routinely exposed to cold, wet weather for days at a time. Tingling, itchy, red or blotchy skin indicates that your feet are too cold. Consequences can include blisters or even tissue falling off, so keep your feet warm and dry at all times.
  • Stay hydrated: Finally, dehydration is a widespread problem in winter. Your body wants to keep your core warm, so it moves fluids away from the extremities. If you’re urinating or sweating frequently, you may be dehydrated. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks with electrolytes, but keep in mind that alcohol and caffeine can exacerbate dehydration. That means energy drinks are completely out, too.

With a little care, you and your forklift operators can have a safe, happy and healthy winter season, even when operating heavy machinery.

V-Bar Equipment Company has been serving Texas forklift owners and operators all year round since 1993. Our services include selling and servicing forklifts, forklift telehandlers, boom lifts and scissor lifts. We also rent heavy equipment and sell parts for all the products we work on. If you’re experiencing forklift issues or other problems with heavy machinery use in the winter in Texas, trust our experts. We have an excellent staff that’s here to answer any question you may have. Stop in or give us a call today to learn more or request service!

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