Winter Safety Tips
The weather during winter months regularly poses new challenges for operators of aerial work platforms. Snow, ice, and decreased temperatures make operating AWPs more difficult, and should not be underestimated.
Low temperatures alone can cause dangerous situations, especially for the safety of the operator. Especially at high altitudes, operators can become cold quickly despite winter-proof clothing, and in extreme situations, can result in hypothermia. Even if it does not become serious, operators who are exposed to the cold for long periods of time can have decreased concentration and worsening motor skills. In addition, cold fingers and thick gloves can complicate the operating of control units. Therefore, operators should be sure to wear suitable clothing and warming gloves with enough flexibility to allow for unrestricted use of the different controls and take short breaks to warm up regularly.
Attention: slip hazard!
Dangerous situations can result from an aerial work platform that is used on unstable or uneven ground. For example, the ground can become soft and slippery during the day as a result of an increase in temperature and direct sunlight. Additionally, if snow and ice cover the ground, it is difficult to recognize unsuitable ground that may pose a risk. If the stability of the machine is temporarily at risk, it can lead to slipping and even tilting of the machine. The following should be considered when operating an aerial work platform during winter:
- Inspect the surface of the ground and clear it from snow and ice.
- Check the whole area for uneven ground, temporarily covered openings and pits.
- Make sure to check the load capacity to see whether they can withstand the floor pressure of the aerial work platform.
- Floor conditions can change due to a temperature increase during the day.
- Make sure the aerial work platform is level.
- Use dry levelling plates if necessary to prevent the machine from slipping, sinking or even tilting.
- Remember that in the least favourable position, up to 80% of the total weight of an aerial work platform can be loaded on a wheel, column or axle!
Battery charging during winter
Low temperatures can lead to batteries losing their charge more quickly. If batteries are recharged in cold conditions, the engine will not start - regardless of how long the charging time is. That usually does not mean that the battery or charger is broken. This is usually due to the low temperature. If it is under +6°C, the battery cannot be charged. In this case, move the access platform to a location above +6°C and charge the battery there or, in case of an emergency, remove the battery and charge it in a warm environment. Working on aerial work platforms in winter hides many dangers that can be minimised by adhering these certain basic rules!