5 Tips for Operating a Forklift in High Temperatures

Forklift operation combined with the hot summer sun can turn into a disaster, but by following these 5 tips you’ll be sure to optimize forklift operation and safety in the workplace.

As we are well into summer at this point, it’s worth touching on safe forklift operations in the sun. With this heat wave we are experiencing in Ontario, the high temperatures are working against operators as well. With these two factors in mind, it’s important to take all precautions and set yourself up for the day to be best prepared.

Forklifts are pieces of heavy equipment and can be dangerous if the driver is not fully alert. We all know how the sun can affect us in many ways, but if you prepare yourself and keep these best practices in mind, you’ll be sure to keep yourself and others safe!


Get lots of rest

Being fully alert is one of the most important things when operating heavy equipment. This is especially important in the summer temperatures as lack of sleep plus sun exhaustion takes a toll on individuals. Making sure you get enough sleep prior to getting behind the wheel of any equipment is critical to safe operation.

Stay hydrated

Water, water, water! Staying well hydrated in the high summer temperatures is vital whether you’re operating a forklift or not. However, operating heavy equipment calls for more to reduce drowsiness and increase alertness. A best practice is to keep water nearby so that you’ll remember to reach for it. Heat stroke is no laughing matter and would hinder one’s ability to control a lift truck.

Protect your eyes

We’ve all experienced that moment when we briefly get the glaring sun’s reflection in our eyes and feel blinded for a few seconds. To prevent this from happening while driving a forklift, wear a hat and/or sunglasses to shield and protect your eyes from any glares from sunny reflections. Wearing a baseball hat will keep your eyes shaded enhancing your vision for the task at hand. This can help avoid potential collisions and not cripple our vision.

Take more breaks than usual

If you have a long day of work in the sun, make sure to increase planned breaks. Often times we feel fine and choose to continue working, but we should optimize down time and head into a cooler temperature even if it’s just for five minutes. Though it may seem like an inconvenience when you just want to get the job done, it can help avoid heat or sun stroke.

Remain up-to-date with your maintenance schedule

Last but not least is ensuring that the forklifts are getting the extra attention they require in the summer as well. Overheating is a common problem that can be avoided by abiding by maintenance schedules. Daily checks and walk arounds should be done to ensure that the trucks are working to their full potential.

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