Properly winterizing your equipment and your project grounds could be the difference between being able to continue working effectively or having non-working equipment.
Here are a few things to consider as we move toward the colder months:
Be Prepared Early
We never truly know how harsh a winter will be, which means that you shouldn’t leave anything up to chance. Start prepping your equipment for the cold and snowy winters ahead of the season. Make sure to fuel up your machines regularly to minimize the empty space in the tank, which can allow condensation to form and let water mix into your fuel. You should also take some time to apply fresh grease and lubricants that are specially formulated to offer extra protection in the winter months.
Now is also the time to complete any routine maintenance tasks that would be harder (and more miserable) to do in winter months. This can include changing any fluids, like oil or hydraulic fluid, and checking on the health of batteries. You may also want to consider stocking up on ice-melting materials that can prevent ice from forming or melt through any that may form on your job site.
Even if you have completed all the winterizing steps you need to, you could still be looking at serious damage if you run these machines—or your work crews—at the same speed as you do in warmer months.
Overworking your cranes is a recipe for disaster, so be sure to understand the limitations of your equipment. Think about the absolute maximum they can do and take it down a few notches. Pay attention to any specific pre-operating procedures that the crane may require, including running the machines for a bit before getting to work or creating weight restrictions.
You should also take a slow and steady approach with workers. The cold weather can make working outdoors more difficult, and this extra strain can lead to mistakes or accidents, especially in conditions where black ice could form and pose a serious hazard on the job site. Work slowly, cautiously and effectively to keep everyone safe and secure while completing your project.
Keep the Operators in Mind
While crane operators may be some of the most jovial members of your team during the rest of the year, the winter months can be downright miserable for them if their comfort and safety isn’t taken into account. If you have the budget, invest in a crane that has a heated cab that the operator can sit within. Warm jackets, boots and gloves can only do so much, so having a heated cab can help keep them more comfortable.
You may also want to consider keeping chemical hand warmers available that can provide a bit of warmth on even the coldest days on site.
Crane Mats Can Do Wonders
Having your crane positioned on high-quality crane mats can also be a big help in the winter especially. Crane mats can provide a stable and consistent platform, even if the ground below is freezing and thawing in fluctuating temperatures. Wood mats also won’t get as slick as metal mats, and have much less risk of having ice form. Plus, wooden mats are more affordable and can easily be cut and fit to meet the needs of your project.
Mats can help to keep your crane safe and in its rightful place for the duration of the project in any weather—winter, spring, summer and fall.
Ritter Forest Products offers a full selection of crane mats for purchase or rental. As a trusted name in crane mats for more than three decades, you can rest assured knowing that you’re getting some of the best mats on the market at the best prices.
Learn more today by calling us at 800-426-9570 or request a quote online now!