Summer is almost here, and therefore your forklifts and operators need to have proper procedures in place, to help prevent unnecessary and costly heat-related equipment and driver malfunctions.
We’ve got a few tips to make sure your safety checklist is seasonally sound…
Before we get onto the forklifts themselves, it’s hugely important that the operators take appropriate precautionary measures to stay cool and hydrated. Without measures in place to help prevent it, heat stress and exhaustion can cause real risks for many forklift truck operators, especially those that work long shifts in hot conditions.
Consider rescheduling certain tasks so that they can be carried out during a cooler part of the day, and setting up fan equipment in parts of the warehouse where the most work is carried out. Ensure operators carry bottles of water to stay hydrated, wear light clothing, get frequent water breaks at regular intervals, and use mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion. Training and instructions for operators to recognise heat-related illness will also be beneficial.
Checking the forklift battery
Performing regular checks on forklift batteries should of course be a part of general everyday maintenance. But with summertime on the horizon, this becomes even more essential – mainly due to the fact that extreme heat can cause excess corrosion and low fluid levels in batteries.
The higher temperatures get the more likely it is that the battery fluids will evaporate, which will significantly shorten any forklift life expectancy. Make sure to refill water, which is the right pH for your battery, whenever its fluid levels are low and check the levels regularly.
Inspect the engine, fans and belts
Engines overheating can be a common problem during warmer months, largely due to low levels of coolant, or incorrect coolant being used. Make sure to replace engine coolant whenever necessary, and if the coolant levels are low, check for any cracks before adding fluid.
Ensure hoses are checked for cracks, holes or loose connections before refilling the tank, and make sure the coolant is correct for the specific forklift model. Check the engine fan for damage and debris, as a fan in good working order is critical to maintaining low engine temperature, and avoiding a meltdown.
Maintaining the engine belt is also essential for regulating temperature, and a worn belt will cause a reduction in airflow, along with the flow of the coolant, causing engine temperatures to spike.
Change the oil regularly
When it comes to maintaining effective forklift functionality, and protecting the engine, having the correct oil is a no brainer.
Making sure the engine oil is regularly changed is even more vital as temperatures increase, as a lack of oil can lead to severe wear and tear, and possibly total engine failure.