How long could you run your business without the use of forklift trucks? A week? A day? An hour?
The onset of winter can be as harsh as it is unpredictable, and a drastic change of conditions often takes many businesses by surprise. A supply chain halted by inoperable forklifts is the last thing you need with the Christmas period approaching, so what can you do to winter-proof your fleet before the snow falls?
Prepare Your Employees
Anyone operating a forklift during the winter should be properly trained to deal with the adverse conditions created by snow and ice. Whereas wet and slippery surfaces may be an obvious consequence, less so are the hazards brought by reduced visibility and operator fatigue.
Also make sure that your employees are outfitted with suitable clothing and equipment. It’s no good having a perfectly maintained fleet if your driver turns up in shorts and a t-shirt. Wind-proof clothing, warm gloves, suitable headgear, and high-visibility outerwear will all help combat the various conditions winter throws at you.
Prepare Your Workplace
Take steps to prevent the build-up of ice in any areas where your forklifts operate, and prepare a plan of action for the first day the weather turns bad. You’d also be wise to stock up on the necessary products now before the rush, as grit and liquid brine will be in short supply when temperatures start to drop.
Another consideration to make is whether the lighting you have in place is strong enough to pierce a snowstorm. If it is, when was the last time they were checked? Ask your employees if any of them fancy climbing a ladder in the middle of a blizzard just to change a bulb. Chances are they won’t, so get the job done now, along with any other small tasks that won’t be made easier by the presence of snow.
Prepare Your Forklift Truck Fleet
Regular forklift servicing should already be part of your routine, but scheduling one within the next few weeks would enable you to combine this with a winter suitability check-up. A trained forklift engineer can recommend the most suitable plows and scoops for your model and workplace requirements, in addition to spotting potential problems before the cold strikes.
Your employees can also be given a checklist of forklift preparatory steps before beginning work in winter, such as engine warming, fitting winter tyres, fluid level checks, and the adding of weight blocks to aid stability. When chaotic weather hits your town, having a fixed routine ensures everyone knows their responsibilities.
The weatherman’s winter warnings needn’t cause panic if you and your employees have fully prepared for what lies ahead. By implementing a regular regime of training, workplace preparation, and forklift maintenance, you’ll ensure both your drivers and business survive the storm unscathed. And if there’s something you’re unsure of, just give H&F Lift Trucks a call on 0800 298 8790, and we’ll be happy to help.