Forklifts are as useful inside as outside. From the stacks to the loading bay and beyond, forklifts help operators move and store heavy goods and bulky items with ease. While not all forklifts are well suited to outdoor operations, those that are can be invaluable to warehouse operations.

[embed width="123" height="456"][/embed]That being said, outdoor environments are often more challenging than indoor operations, and offer new conditions that can be all the more adverse to even the most seasoned professional. Here are few useful tips for forklift drivers to maximise their efficiency in outdoor applications.

Give Your Forklift Regular Maintenance

Being exposed to the elements will naturally mean that outdoor forklifts have the potential to wear out sooner than forklifts that spend all day indoors.Poorly inflated tyres and a lack of essential fluids prior to use can be exceptionally hazardous. Check the PSI on all tyres and make sure they are at the correct levels. Overinflated tyres are just as dangerous as underinflated tyres, as they are more likely to explode and even cause a vehicle fire.Underinflated tyres run the risk of going flat and a forklift with a flat tyre isn't making you any money. Check all tyres before use. Also, check antifreeze and oil to ensure they are at adequate levels. This practice prevents the engine from overheating or freezing in challenging summer or winter environments.

Pay Attention!

Working outdoors boasts a whole new set of potential troubles and difficulties. For this reason forklift operators should remain vigilant of their surroundings, surveying the site continuously to recognise potential hazards, such as obstacles and pedestrians.To avoid an accident or in the event that an urgent and swift manoeuvre must be executed, forklift operators need to be attentive with both hands on the wheel.

Communication Is Key

It is imperative for forklift operators and other team members to establish and good communication. Effective communication is key to a successful and productive team, as everyone knows what's happening. Communication also ensures that staff are out of danger from moving forklifts or stock in transit. Sometimes, forklift operators may miss potential hazards due to blind spots, so crew should maintain communication to keep everyone safe.

Watch the Weather

Without a doubt, the biggest factor affecting outdoor warehouse operations is the weather. Adverse weather conditions, from blazing heat to ice and snow, can have a serious impact on your productivity.When it rains, mud and puddles can compromise the flooring and lead to a loss of traction. If you operate in areas prone to rain and mud, make sure your outdoor forklifts are more rugged, with all-season tyres. Check weather forecasts when considering your workload and operational plans to stay one step ahead.

Operating Forklifts Outside in Winter

In winter, you should take extra care during outside operations. Check the condition of the site and use grit to keep ice and snow at bay.Before you use any forklift in winter, it’s essential to perform thorough checks to determine whether or not the forklift is in a fit state. Check all aspects of the forklift truck including the battery, tyres, screens, lights, hydraulics, attachments and steering.Operating a forklift truck outside requires different clothing than forklifts that are operated inside. And obviously in winter, this changes again. Winter weather demands gloves, sturdy boots, high-vis jackets and warm hats. Ensuring this is provided to all employees and that they wear appropriate clothing whilst working can make work more efficient and safer.

No one who has not been trained on outdoor forklift trucks should be operating one – especially in winter. All staff should have thorough training and regular refreshers to keep the knowledge up to date and fresh in their mind. It requires a different skillset working outdoors as there are different challenges and hazards to be aware of.


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