Tips for preparing equipment, workers for cold months

With the first signs of winter weather already hitting the Northern regions of the country, it’s time to think about how to prepare your construction equipment for the cold temperatures ahead. The Cat Rental Store has published several suggestions on its website.

According to Cat, owners should install correct engine, hydraulic, transmission and final drive lubricants prior to cold weather. Also, mix an antifreeze solution for the cooling system. If you plan to operate your equipment on snow, it is important for track tension to be correct. To find out how to adjust the track tension, refer to your OEM manual.

Perform an overall check of the equipment, making sure hoses, tires, fan belts, electrical wiring and connections are not frayed and there is not any insulation damage. While the machine’s air cleaners and air intake should be checked daily under normal operating conditions, check them more often if the equipment is being operated near snow.

The best way to protect workers from freezing temperatures is relatively basic — dress properly for cold weather by wearing several layers of lighter garments rather than a single heavy one to trap body heat. The first layer should be made of wool or synthetics, which draw moisture away from the body. Avoid cotton because it absorbs moisture. The next layer should be comprised of insulating garments, such as fleece. The outer layer of clothing should be made of water-repellant material that will also help block the wind. Make sure none of the clothing is loose. Clothing hanging off the body could catch on machinery and cause injury or death.

Thirst is suppressed in cold temperatures so workers should drink warm beverages to prevent dehydration. Workers wearing heavy protective gear in cold environments expend more heat and need to consume 10 to 15 percent more calories than usual.
For additional cold weather tips from Cat, click on the link to the right.