The winter season is right around the corner, and so too is the inevitable change towards harsher weather conditions and a colder climate. These conditions may have a negative effect on the reliability and operational capacity of your forklift trucks.
Whether you mainly use reach forklifts, or the more common counterbalance forklift trucks, or any other model of forklift, they are all at greater risk of damage in the winter. Other warehouse equipment and the operators themselves are too. So, it’s always important to make sure you are prepared for the winter months.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some quick tips so that you can continue to operate your forklift trucks safely as the cold creeps in…
Protect your forklift operators
Firstly, you need to make sure that all of your forklift truck operators are wearing suitable clothing for winter. Ensure that warm hats, gloves, and jackets are worn, along with other clothing that can handle cold conditions. Of course, make sure all clothing is still highly visible, even at times when visibility is limited.
Equip your forklift for the cold
Operators need to always check the weather conditions before commencing any work, and the forklifts need to be correctly set up to deal with any harsh conditions. There are a number of ways to endure your forklift is fully equipped for the winter months:
- Use a cover for any forklifts that don’t have cabs, and make sure any covers are closed to prevent snow, ice or water from entering electronic components.
- Equip tyres to the forklift that are suitable for winter use.
- Check all safety lights are operational, and replace any straight away if necessary.
- Install specialist forklift chains to provide extra grip when working in snow or ice.
Carry out regular maintenance and safety checks
The winter conditions demand that extra maintenance be carried out on any forklifts, otherwise it won’t be long before starters, chokes and other operating components begin to take a beating. Also, a thorough safety check should be carried out before the start of any work shift. This will help to ensure any equipment is safe to operate.
Warm up any forklift before use
Much like a conventional car, a forklift also needs to warm up properly in during winter before operation. By taking the time to allow the machine to warm up, you will be lessening the chance of a number of combustion and transmission related problems from occurring.
Use the right amount of anti-freeze
If you’re using a diesel forklift for any operations, then it is vital that the right amount of anti-freeze is used in the truck’s coolant system. The engine coolant in a forklift is at greater risk of freezing up into a solid block during the colder climate, and therefore blocking the coolant system. By using the correct amount of anti-freeze you can prevent this from happening, and avoid problems, such as the unit overheating.
The cold and dark months needn’t cause panic if you have fully prepared your forklift trucks and operators for the coming changes. Putting a regular regime of workplace preparation, forklift maintenance and training in place will ensure that you can weather the winter woes.