If you operate heavy equipment, you know that safety is the number one concern. You have to know your equipment and how to handle it well even in the best conditions. However, when winter comes around, it can be significantly harder to do.
So, whether you are driving a snowplow or a skid steer trailer attachment, knowing how to get around in the winter is a must.
1) Wear the Right Clothing
The simple starting point is to ensure that you are dressed for the job. Even if you have a climate-controlled cab, it is a good idea to wear a few layers. Sitting still inside a vehicle can cause you to get cold quickly. Of course, you should also be wearing your appropriate personal protective equipment at all times as well.
2) Remove Ice and Move Carefully
Metal surfaces can get dangerous very quickly if they ice over. Make sure that you clear the ice from handholds and steps before using your equipment. Additionally, as you are climbing in and out of the cab, move slowly and make sure you have your hand on a rail or hold.
3) Keep It Slow
You should also move carefully in the equipment. Just like you should always drive slowly on icy and snowy roads, you also want to drive your equipment around at a safe speed. This will give you more time to react and avoid obstacles. It will also minimize the effect of losing traction.
4) Look Before You Drive
Avoiding hazards is one of the main elements of using equipment safely during the winter. Make sure you are paying close attention to wherever you are driving. The snow and ice can hide obstacles that could be dangerous if you strike them. This is especially true if you have something mounted in the back such as a trailer on a tractor 3 point hitch. Check the path of your whole vehicle before moving.
5) Avoid Touching Metal Surfaces
Try not to touch metal surfaces that may be below freezing. If you need to, do so with gloves on. Your skin can be harmed by simply touching very cold surfaces. While imagery of tongues stuck to metal poles may be hilarious, it is not something you want to do to yourself on the job.
6) Ensure Good Lighting
If you want to be able to avoid hazards, you need to be able to see. Properly lighting a work zone is important all year round. However, during the winter, the darkness is much more likely to sneak up on you during a normal workday. You don’t need to be pulling overtime or a late shift to see the sunset. Make sure you have appropriate lighting around and on your heavy equipment.
Get the Right Equipment for This Winter
With the right tools for the job, you can be ready for anything. Whether you need hay handling equipment, snowplows, pallet forks or anything else, you should be ready to use it during the winter. The above six tips will help you to do so.