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Tips to Help Heavy Equipment Operators Survive Harsh Australian Winter

Operating heavy equipment requires dealing with a number of challenges and a lot of emphasis on safety, maintenance, and knowledge. These heavy machineries are a significant investment and it always makes sense to take proper care of them. Heavy equipment operators need to be extra careful about their equipment during the winter season because cold weather may have a serious negative impact on these machines.  

Frigid temperatures can very easily damage your equipment’s traction, oil and travel motors, tire pressure, and much more. In addition to all sorts of machine related issues, cold weather may also cause a number of serious health concerns for equipment operators. While working in snowy, icy, and frigid conditions, exhaustion, frostbite, immersion foot syndrome, and winter dehydration are quite common. If you are serious about avoiding equipment downtime during the colder months of the year, consider following the simple tips mentioned below.  

  • Battery: The ability of a machine to perform can be affected significantly by rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Batteries can lose as much as 32% of their strength at 0 degrees centigrade. While starting in cold weather, the battery goes through severe strain, causing further loss of power. Therefore, please keep an eye out for battery breakdown signs such as clicking or grinding signs while turning the ignition, machine cranks when starting, and dim headlights when idling. Get your battery replaced if you notice any of these telltale signs.  
  • Traction Control Program: The chance of slip related accidents can increase significantly in icy road conditions.  Before starting work, always remove snow and ice from your equipment. Accidents on icy surfaces can be prevented by using ice melt products. In order to improve grip and stability, ice spikes or ice cleats can also be used. Don’t forget that the steps, grabs, and grip plates can be extremely slippery under these conditions. Therefore, be extremely cautious while entering and exiting.  
  • Visibility: low-visibility is another danger associated with operating heavy equipment in winter. This problem not only puts the operators at risk, but everyone on site. High visibility driver vests, gloves, and accessories can help operators stand out against low-visibility situations, low light conditions, and complex backgrounds. 
  • Stay warm: If you are a heavy equipment operator, it is important for you to take adequate protections to stay safe from hypothermia, cold stress, and other hazards related to cold weather. Unlike other drivers, you may not have the luxury of an enclosed and heated cab. Layering your clothes is probably one of the best options for you to stay warm. You can also use winter work gear such as base layers, jackets, overalls, liners, hand protection, etc. You should also be extremely careful about other common risks such as flash fire, arc flash, chemical exposure, etc.  

These were just a few winter preparedness tips for all heavy equipment operators working in the harsh Australian winter. If you have more questions related to operating your machine safely and effectively, please get in touch with us at K and G Machinery.