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Cold Weather Precautions

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Business Advice

Cold weather requires unique precautions to keep machines and people working safely.

Precautions for Machines

  • Before cold weather arrives, install the correct engine, hydraulic, transmission, and final drive lubricants. Consult the Operation and Maintenance Manual (OMM) for the manufacturer’s requirements.
  • Mix an antifreeze solution for the cooling system. The solution should provide freezing protection for the lowest expected outside temperature.
  • Be sure that the voltage of the electric heaters matches the power source.
  • Check the hoses, tires, fan belts, electrical wiring and connections for fraying or insulation damage during the daily walk-around inspections.
  • Correct track tension is important during cold weather operation in snow. Refer to the OMM for the manufacturer’s recommendations. Similarly, remember that tire pressure in a warm shop area will change significantly when the machine goes outside into colder temperatures. Consult the OMM for cold-weather inflation pressures to prolong the life of the machine’s tires.
  • Check the air cleaners and air intake daily, more often if snow is present.
  • Fill the fuel tank at the end of each shift.
  • Batteries should be warm and fully charged and all starting fluid at room temperature (inject only while the engine is cranking.) Once the engine is started, run the engine until it reaches operating temperature to help prevent the intake and exhaust valves from sticking.

Protecting People

  • Dress properly for cold weather by wearing several lighter garments that trap body heat instead of a single heavy one. The first layer next to the skin should draw moisture away from the body. Wool or synthetics like polypropylene work well, but avoid cotton as a first layer because it absorbs and retains moisture.
  • Insulating garments comprise the next layer and there may be several, depending on activity level and temperature. Wool and synthetic “fleece” are appropriate insulators, as they will hold the warmed air.
  • The outermost layer of clothing should block the wind and repel moisture. Choose tightly woven materials that repel water and allow moisture to escape.
  • Apply these layering ideas to your feet as well. Boots stuffed with too many layers of socks will restrict air circulation, making the feet colder.
  • Wear a warm hat and neck covering since the majority of body heat is lost through the head and neck.
  • Always make sure that clothing is not loose or hanging off the body in ways that could catch on controls or machinery.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and medications that may impair judgement or inhibit the body’s response to cold.
  • Thirst is suppressed when it’s cold so drink plenty of warm beverages to prevent dehydration.
  • Workers wearing heavy protective gear in cold environments expend more heat and need 10 to 15 percent more calories.
  • Take breaks to warm up, especially as temperatures drop or wind picks up.

Battlefield Equipment operates Cat Rental Stores, and is the Caterpillar dealer for Compact Equipment in Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland. For more information on the products, services and Training Programs that Battlefield Equipment provides, call 1-800-RENT-CAT to reach your nearest location.

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