To help forklift drivers manage outdoor conditions we have compiled a list of some top safety tips. Keep reading to learn more.
Forklifts are a vital piece of equipment in many different businesses, being used in a variety of ways. While some use forklifts mainly for work indoors in warehouses, they can also be used outdoors to help move heavy and bulky items. Not all forklifts work effectively outside, as only some are specifically designed for outdoor conditions, so it is important to ensure that you have the correct equipment for your need. Outdoor environments have more variable factors compared to indoor environments such as adverse weather conditions, and therefore they can be more challenging than more control indoor settings.
Give Your Forklift Regular Maintenance
The most important safety tip of them all is to make sure that your used forklift has regular maintenance checks to make sure that all the parts are in working order. As forklifts that are used outdoors are more exposed, they may wear out quicker than indoor forklifts. Therefore it is important to check vital components of the machine to ensure the safety of the driver.
Important parts to check include the tyres and fluids. It is vital that the tyres are properly inflated and not damaged in any way so that they can gain traction with the ground. The forklift manual will give guidance on the appropriate tyre pressure so that you can check this and inflate or deflate them accordingly. Underplayed tyres mean that the forklift will not move around easily, meaning that it cannot serve its purpose. Surprisingly overinflated tyres are just as harmful as they have the potential to explode.
Checking the liquids in your used forklift is equally as important as these can prevent the engine from overheating or freezing during the colder winter months, meaning that your forklift is always operational. Ensure that the oil and antifreeze levels are both topped up to the recommended amount to avoid these issues.
Success is Based on Communication
The key to any type of successful teamwork is communication and this could not be more important in a team of forklift operators. Communication ensures that every member of the team knows what is happening and who is moving where. It helps identify what is being moved and where to so that everyone is on the same page. Great communication also helps reduce the potential for accidents in the workplace which is vital in keeping every member of the team safe.
Be Vigilant When Operating the Forklift
Operating a forklift requires special training as it is, but navigating one outdoors comes with an extra level of difficulty. It is important that when using a forklift outside that drivers are extra cautious of their surroundings and use their vigilance to identify any hazards such as other workers and obstacles that they will need to manoeuvre around. There are some cases where this cannot be avoided, however, and drivers may need to move or turn quickly to get out of the way of an object. In order to do this successfully, operators should drive the forklift with both their hands on the steering wheel as this gives them more control.
Keep an Eye on the Weather Forecast
One of the main differences between an indoor forklift and an outdoor forklift is that the outdoor operator will need to deal with the additional danger of adverse weather conditions. The efficiency and safety of your team will vary dramatically in different weather conditions, with extreme heat or extreme cold having detrimental effects on the forklifts. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the weather forecast to help prepare for this. Not only will checking the forecast help when preparing and driving the forklift, but it will also help decide what the forklift operators are wearing so that they are properly protected from the elements – gloves in winter or sunglasses during a heatwave for example.
As well as a change in temperature, another weather issue to look out for is rain. Flooring or water pooling on the ground can lead to the tyres of the forklift losing their grip, causing the forklift to skid dangerously. One way to try and limit the effects of a downpour is to add all-season tyres to your forklift, which will help the machine stick closely to the ground. If there is snow or ice forecast, it is important to try and salt or grit the ground to avoid the forklift slipping.
If the forecast is predicting any strong weather conditions, it is a smart idea to perform a maintenance check on your forklift to ensure that everything is working effectively. Important things to check include the tyres, battery, hydraulics, lights and steering as these will help you operate the forklift in harsh conditions.
Operating a forklift outside comes will its own set of unique challenges, which we hope these tips will help with. The most important things is that forklift operators should be properly trained for outdoor conditions in order to work safely and efficiently.