How to Keep Your Forklift Operators Protected Over Winter

Winter Forklift
Forklifts are exceptionally useful pieces of material handling equipment, but they can also be quite dangerous to operate if not done safely and correctly. That’s why it’s imperative that you keep your workers protected at all times. However, the winter months can pose more risks when it comes to forklift operation, especially when frost, ice or snow sets in. As an employer, you have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of your employees so by implementing these measures, you’ll be able to protect your workers from many of the risks faced when operating heavy machinery during the colder months. Not only will this ensure your employees are safe, but it also gives you absolute peace of mind.

Provide your workers with appropriate safety equipment

According to the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, your workers should have been given the protective equipment they need in order to perform their job and execute tasks as safely as possible. Despite the fact that they should have been given this safety equipment already, aspects of it can change and so it’s important that all protective equipment is up to date and suitable for the work environment and that includes protecting your employees when the temperature drops outside. If your machine operators are required to work outside, whether it be for a few minutes or several hours, they need to be given the right equipment to use and clothing to wear. You should be supplying the following items to your employees, especially during the winter months:
  • Thermal base layers
  • Technical gloves
  • Heavy-duty, hard-toed footwear
  • Thick coats and overcoats
  • High-visibility jackets
  • Over trousers or overalls with reflective strips
  • Basic wooly hats
  • Hard hats and helmets
  • Head lights
High-visibility clothing is absolutely paramount during the winter weather and this is because the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier than it would have done during spring and summer. Head lights are also important, for the same reasons that high-visibility clothing is. Your employees need to be seen, regardless of how dark it is outside. With this in mind, you should also look to implement flood lights throughout your premises for added reassurance all round.

Ensure the site is winter-ready

Getting your site winter-ready is a quick and reliable way of ensuring your workers can roam freely around your worksite with minimal risk or being harmed. Cold and wet conditions make the perfect environment for slips, trips and falls. Not only that, but it can cause forklifts to lose traction when it’s needed most, causing it to tip over and harm an operator. Make sure you keep your eye on the weather forecast before sending employees outside to work. If a cold snap is due to set in, then prepare appropriately for the drop in temperature by: Sprinkling sand and salt over paths and doorways Setting up boundaries Laying down absorbent mats Adding extra lighting Putting up reflective, well-lit signage

Give workers the chance to take a refresher training course

Although the staff you employ would have had forklift training already, it’s important that they’re up to date with the safe and responsible operation of a forklift. Before the colder weather sets in, you should check whether or not your workers need a refresher course, paying particular attention to forklift operation during the winter.

Refurbished Forklifts are material handling experts, providing clients across the United Kingdom with high-calibre, reliable warehouse equipment, including used forklifts. We have a team of highly-qualified engineers who are dedicated to the safe reconditioning of heavy warehouse machinery, regardless of what it is. For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our professional team today – we’re always happy to help.

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