With cold weather come additional hazards for forklift operation. During the winter season we must stay alert to factors such as temperature, black ice, snow, sleet, ice, etc.
Slips & Falls
Outside is cold. Inside is warm. For a forklift operating in both areas, these changes in temperature will cause condensation to form on the forklift. Operators entering and exiting the forklift must watch for slippery steps and handles to avoid slips and falls. Shovelling snow and salting pavements in very icy conditions is vital when forklifts perform outside. Not only can an operator slip and fall, most forklifts are not built to drive on ice or slippery surfaces and heavy loads and fast speeds increase the risk for an accident.
Electric forklifts face as much as a 25-50% decrease in cycle times during cold weather. The harsher temperature affects the battery’s electrolyte, causing it to thicken and struggle to achieve the chemical reaction needed to power the forklift. Equipment powered by LP fuel is not immune; it is affected when the battery to its engine is weakened. For gas and diesel forklifts, cold temperatures produce hard starts and require more fuel to operate. If a tank is low on fuel, condensation can form inside, causing the forklift to sputter or stop.
For all forklifts, freezing temperatures thicken their oil. Tony Jones from ProLift Equipment, explains “Oil can thicken to the consistency of honey. This will affect hydraulic-powered features, lowering the amps and causing functions to slow down.”
Forklifts can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide that hang in the air like a toxic cloud. Closed windows and dock doors decrease ventilation and put employees at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Testing air quality and forklift emissions is a cost-effective step to ensure your employees stay healthy. Consider warehouse doors where ventilation is offered such as the Compact Sectional Door which is both insulated but also offering ventilation grills at the base of the door, keeping the doorway insulated and also allowing for airflow into the site.
Employees should dress in layers to prepare for changing temperatures and decrease the risk of frostbite. It is also important for each person to pay attention to body signals that tell them to slow down or take a break; similar to forklifts, cold temperatures cause our bodies to use more calories and energy.
High Speed Doors
We cannot disregard the importance of High-speed doors and their role in our facilities and how they can work hand in hand with forklifts. As you know, High Speed Doors are door systems, mainly used in industrial applications. They are technical enhancements of the generally known sectional doors, PVC fabric doors or roller shutters. With the standard roller shutter, the forklift user will have to exit their forklift to open the door each time, but with high speed doors, they can be either activated via a remote or automatically opened and closed via the use of sensors. This means that High Speed Doors are closed for longer - consume less time from the forklift user and less cold air is let in from the outside.
The main difference is that the durable construction provides a higher operating speed and they are able to sustain a higher number of cycles (opening and closing cycles) and require lower maintenance and repair cost. Depending on the intended field of application, horizontal or vertical operating door types are available.
Short opening and closing times reduce cooling loss, avoid airflow and enable a smooth operating procedure as well as create a more effective barrier against outside elements entering the site. Also, some barrier specialists offer a various high speed door styles, from a cost effective, ES40 Rapid Roller Door, to a Movidor HIgh Speed Door and onto a more indulated door such as Movchill Insulated High Speed Door. The Movichill High Speed Insulated door offers a unique solution for high-usage freezer doors, where the 'warm-side' of the freezer doorway is humidity and temperature controlled, with thermal Resistance (R-Value) of 0.6m2K/W. It is worth making sure you know all the options available to you, as well as the manufacturers warranty and servicing incentives. More importantly, you have the right product for your needs so that you are not left 'out in the cold'.
Remax provides a range of entrance automation products and warehouse solutions and is supported by a team of dedicated specialists and a network of over factory-trained distributors throughout Australia. We’ll put that expertise to work for you in a variety of innovative ways. Contact us today us today to schedule your consultation with a Remax Application Specialist.
Your consultation will include:
- A full analysis of your site.
- A consultation and personal copy of our product library to determine the best solutions available to you.
- A no-obligation quote and follow up consultation.
These quick tips aim to highlight some areas to consider changing in your warehouse and storage facilities. If you are interested in cold storage options please read our blog about the five key things to consider when operating an effective cold storage facility. Or if you would like to read about how you can reduce your energy emissions through installation of a High Speed Rapid Door, check out our self-relocating High Speed Door by clicking here.