Six Tips for Safe Use of Forklifts in Snowy Weather

February 4, 2021 6:18 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The weather might be snowy, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. Should you use forklifts when it’s snowing out, or is it best to save it for another day? Forklifts are typically sturdy pieces of equipment, and can operate in below-freezing temperatures for long periods of time—but when you add snow and ice into the mix, it might endanger your workers, your materials and bystanders.

Luckily, it doesn’t snow that often in Texas, unlike in most northern states. However, you should still know what to do when there’s ice and snow on the ground. Read on to learn how to safely use forklifts in the snow in Texas.

Is it safe to use forklifts in the snow?

Forklifts can slide or slip on ice and snow, and it’s easy for them to slide down embankments in inclement weather. If allowed to build up, you could see damage to the drive train and wheels. Similarly, if you drive the forklift through large puddles, it can damage the engine and short out the battery.

Is your forklift designed for indoor or outdoor use? That makes a big difference, too—outdoor forklifts are generally designed to have better traction and covered cabs, to protect the workers from poor weather. These forklifts often use diesel or gas instead of a battery or propane.

If your forklift is designed for outdoor use, you can feel comfortable using it in light snow. Make sure you understand the best practices for snowy weather, in order to keep everyone safe.

Safe forklift operation tips for snowy weather in Texas

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you start using your forklift in extreme winter weather:

  • Prevent weather damage: If you have an outdoor forklift, feel free to use it in the snow. If you only use indoor forklifts, take care to ensure that the warehouse floor is free of ice, snow and puddles.
  • Winterize your fleet: The cold weather affects many of your forklift’s internal systems, including the battery, hydraulic system and electrical system. Double-check the batteries, lubricate all moving parts and check the tires, wheels and masts to ensure their proper operation. Do this before the worst of the winter weather sets in.
  • Get a reserve fuel supply: If a big storm hits Texas, the supply chain may be disrupted. Make sure you always have a reserve fuel supply on hand, especially during the winter months.
  • Warm up first: Like cars, forklifts also need some time to warm up in the winter. Make sure your drivers and operators know to let the engine run for a few minutes.
  • Slow down: Make sure to reduce your speed during inclement weather. You’re far less likely to have accidents or experience any surprises.
  • Stay alert: The cold weather can have a serious health impact on your drivers. Train them to not only stay awake, but to monitor themselves in case they show signs of fatigue, frostbite and other cold weather-related conditions.

To learn more about safe forklift operation in Texas’s occasional snowy weather, get in touch with V-Bar Equipment Company today.

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