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Winter Safety Tips for Forklifts

Posted by: admin on October 21, 2022

Driving a forklift always comes with a few risks. Those risks become even more challenging during the winter months. Cold temperatures, icy roads, and bad weather put even the most skilled forklift operators to the test. With the right knowledge of winter safety tips for forklift drivers, though, operators can avoid hazards and stay safe no matter the weather. 

How Winter Safety Tips Keep Forklift Drivers Healthy

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s especially true when considering winter safety for construction workers. By raising awareness of potential hazards, you can help keep the entire team safe and healthy all year long. Forklift drivers must be cautious of slippery surfaces and take care not to rush when completing a load. Fail to do so and they may suffer severe injuries and even death

1. Dress for Warmth and Safety

While it may seem like common sense to dress as warmly as possible while operating a forklift during the winter months, many workers fail to recognize just how important the right apparel truly is. When it comes to winter safety tips for forklift drivers, safe, warm clothing is everything. Operators should don safety shoes, high visibility vests, and hard hats year-round. During the winter months, it’s important to add a jacket that’s warm but not necessarily bulky. Tight fit clothing can help operators avoid their outfits getting caught in machinery and causing an accident. Hard-hat liners, winter goggles, and insulated gloves should also be standard-issue during winter months. 

2. Conduct Regular Inspections

Winter weather safety tips for forklift drivers frequently center around equipment inspections – and for good reason. OSHA requires inspections of all forklifts before they’re used each day, but those checks become even more important in winter. Cold temperatures can decrease tire pressure and cause hoses to crack. Always be sure to check your fluid levels, particularly at the start of the day. Cold temperatures can cause fluids to freeze or move more slowly through the hydraulic system, impairing performance or causing equipment failure. Let your engine run for a while before getting down to work so the fluids can warm up before you start. Spot these issues ahead of time to avoid a serious forklift accident. 

3. Review Your Working Environment

Environmental inspections are important, too. Winter driving safety often boils down to how clear your travel path is. Hazards like ice and water can cause forklifts to lose traction and slide out of control. To avoid such incidents, do a quick walkthrough of the environment you plan to drive your lift through. By spotting hazards in advance, you’ll be much more likely to avoid them altogether.

4. Take It Slow 

In icy or snowy conditions, it’s best to take your time when operating a forklift. Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid losing control on slippery surfaces. And always use extra caution when making turns. 

5. Keep Your Head on a Swivel

You should always be alert when operating in or around heavy equipment, but even more so during winter. Even if you are operating safely, you need to keep an eye out for other operators who might be distracted by the cold. 

OSHA Winter Safety Protocols

In addition to the aforementioned forklift driver winter safety tips, OSHA has a number of recommendations. OSHA looks for proper forklift covers made with high-quality materials. This cover is used to shield lift operators from precipitation. Workers need to purchase a transparent cover that does not block their view when operating forklifts during snow flurries. Also, one that is designed to drain rainwater from the roof using specially designed ribs and gutters so that water does not spill in front of you every time you hit the brakes.

Online Forklift Certification Training Available All Year

These winter safety tips are truly just the beginning. Perhaps the best way to prepare forklift operators for seasonal hazards is to train them to OSHA standards. With the right training, many of the most common workplace accidents can be avoided. OSHA compliant forklift certification training programs like those offered by are the ideal way to educate employees. Convenient and affordable, our online training tools give forklift operators the skills they need to stay safe all year long. One hour of at-home learning can get workers the certification they need to avoid winter workplace accidents. Get started now by clicking here or dialing 1-888-699-4800.

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