With the brutal summer heat, employers are responsible for keeping forklifts and forklift operators safe from the heat and its potential havoc. While employees may suffer from heat strokes and exhaustion, forklifts are at risk for overheating, coolant system failures, and so much more. Taking the pre-cautionary measures to protect both the forklift and its users can prevent productivity from slowing down.
Protecting the Forklift
One of the most common issues a forklift may see is overheating. With increased temperatures, internal issues may arise. First, coolant fluid levels should be up to the minimum level to stop potential engine damage. If the coolant liquids are regularly checked and replenished, the chemicals can’t cause any additional damage to the coolant system mechanisms. The radiator should also be inspected for damage because cracked and malfunctioning radiators can cause overheating and damage to the radiator. Radiator hoses that aren’t tight enough or have cracks can speed up deterioration of the rubber, so be prepared to check the radiator hoses consistently. All fluid levels, such as Internal Combustion truck oil and battery fluid on Electric trucks, should be maintained and checked continuously to assure the heat has not depleted it.
Rubber tires definitely feel the impact of the summer sun. The heat increases the effects of cracking and other forms of damage to tires. Because heat raises the pressure in tires, pneumatic tires should have the pressure checked. If tires are properly inflated, it can prevent a frustrating tire blowout.
While there are several areas of a forklift that may need extra attention during the summer months, precautionary maintenance and inspections prior to use can prevent downtime. Operators who perform these routine checks and maintenance should still be able to get the job down.
Forklift Operator Safety
While a forklift is a great investment, a forklift operator is just as valuable to an organization. Whether the operator is working indoors or outdoors, precautionary measures should also be taken to be safe in the summer heat. There are several steps to beat the heat when working a forklift:
- Get Plenty of Sleep to Avoid Heat Exhaustion
- Take Breaks to Get Out of the Heat
- Stay Hydrated and Eat for Energy
- Wear Sunscreen
We don’t want burnt out forklifts or operators, so don’t forget to prepare for the hot summers!