Winter forklift safety and maintenance advice


All forklifts are subject to wear and tear and it’s not uncommon for this wear and tear to become more extreme with the onset of winter.

Factors, such as poor conditions and end-of-year deadlines, can place additional unwanted strain on operators and their vehicles. This winter strain can easily result in accidents and breakdowns, which is why it’s so important that forklift operators and overseers are extra vigilant.

Here are six ways you can make sure your staff and vehicles are protected during the winter months:

1. Check your tyres and be prepared to tackle ice

Where there are forklifts that are used in unheated and outdoor spaces, give their tyres a thorough check and replace them if they look worn. Icy conditions are risky at the best of times, but add a heavy load into the equation, and you could quite easily have an accident on your hands.

Where there is ice and snow, make sure you have grit and other de-icers to hand, so that you can prepare sites thoroughly before your forklift operators get to work.

2. Keep your forklifts covered

If you can, keep your vehicle(s) covered during the winter months. Excessive ice and frost can cause mechanical problems.

Parking your vehicles in sheltered spots or covering them with a suitable wrap is the best way to prepare for unexpected cold spells that could delay work.

3. Make sure you’re visible

This applies to your vehicles, your operators and anyone else on the shop or warehouse floor. With so few daylight hours and poor visibility even then, it’s important that everybody’s visible – at all times.

Never operate your forklift if its lights aren’t working properly or at all, keep your space floodlit and hand out plenty of high-vis clothing. This way you can prevent any bumps or accidents due to low light, however minor they may be.

4. Keep an eye on fluid levels

Forklift fluid level irregularities and leaks are a common cause of breakdowns. Winter weather can freeze fluids, so it’s a good idea to check your hydraulic fluid and coolant levels each day to avoid any faults.

5. If in doubt – don’t drive

The best cure is prevention. If you think the weather is too adverse, then don’t let your forklift operators take the risk.

With high winds and heavy rain especially, lifting can become too dangerous. Aside from the risk to personnel, think about the time and money wasted if an accident were to result in damaged vehicles or stock, or worst still, injured staff.

Are your forklifts winter-ready? Talk to us today about our forklift winter services. Call us on 0113 393 2881 or email