Safely Operating Forklift Outdoors

Many industries that require the use of forklifts are completed almost entirely indoors, under a sturdy roof and protected from the elements. While this is the preferred use of forklifts, there are various applications that require forklifts to be used outside. 

As such, there are a variety of additional safety factors that must be considered that indoor operation does not entail. Not only does this ensure efficiency, but safety as well. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when operating forklifts outside.

Weather and Temperature Conditions

It’s important to be aware of the weather conditions when operating forklifts outside. The effects that extreme temperatures have on the machines ability to move and function properly should be taken into consideration. 

Similarly, wind and rain may cause problems with the flow of materials over longer distances. Be sure to consider weather conditions when planning a day’s tasks and make adjustments as necessary.

Indoor-Outdoor Transitions

There may be times when your forklift needs to move from inside to outside with materials or vice versa. Thresholds between indoor and outdoor areas are notorious hot spots for accidents and injury.

Keeping an eye on changes in brightness and visibility, and sudden changes in surface integrity will ensure that you safely transition between these areas, and avoid injuring yourself or others.

Be Aware of Slopes and Gaps

As materials are being moved, it’s critical to be aware of any changes in the floor. Whether the machine is moving up or down a slope or transitioning between indoor and outdoor surfaces, take care to consider how this may affect stability.

Be Aware of Workers and Surrounding Equipment

Entering and leaving buildings or covered areas may also mean sudden changes in traffic and obstacles.  Make sure to always pay attention to where people are, and what obstacles may be in your path. By taking these additional safety factors into consideration, you can ensure the safe operation of forklifts outdoors. 

Ensure Regular Maintenance

Regularly scheduled maintenance can help reduce the risk of an accident while operating forklifts outdoors. Make sure to keep track of your machine’s service history and schedule them according to recommended guidelines.

Adequate Training

This is one of the most important factors when it comes to safely operate a forklift. Forklifts are large and incredibly powerful pieces of machinery. If handled incorrectly,  they have the potential to cause immense damage or injury.

Proper training and adequate skills will ensure that workers fully understand the various risks and know how to safely operate forklifts outdoors. It can minimise accidents and injury on the job while also reducing financial losses from damaged goods.

The Bottom Line 

As you can see, there are a variety of additional factors that must be considered when operating a forklift outdoors. By carefully planning work tasks and taking into consideration weather conditions, thresholds, visibility, slope changes and traffic flow, you can ensure the safe operation of your forklifts while also avoiding injury to yourself or others.

HOST Safety and Training are an industry-leading RTO provider for forklift certification, training and accreditation in Sunshine Coast. With years of experience and a solid track record of success, the HOST Safety and Training team is ready to help you achieve your goals and develop a workplace culture that encourages safety and efficiency.

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