How To Prepare Your Forklift Operations For Winter

Winter has finally arrived and brought with it a bout of miserable weather. But as the temperatures drop, forklift operations must continue in order for businesses to thrive, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

We’ve put together this helpful guide with suggestions on how to prepare your forklift operations for the winter months. We hope you find it useful, but if you’d like any additional advice, why not get in touch with our experienced team? You can contact us by calling 01933 228127, or by emailing us at info@askhitec.co.uk.

Hyster Forklift Hitec

Protect your operators

Unfortunately, even the most determined operator, who continues through wind and rain, doesn’t have the ability to withstand extreme cold. Simple steps to ensure not only their comfort, but also their safety, include:

  • Winter ready outdoor gear, which is windproof, waterproof and highly visible
  • Protective gear which will preserve their most vulnerable parts (such as hands, feet, eyes, nose and ears) examples include insulated work gloves and water-resistant boots
  • Thermal layers such as fleeces, long johns, long sleeve vests and neck gaiters

Prepare your facility

To help ensure that you’re well equipped for the winter months, it’s important to have a store of necessary products, such as anti-freeze, spare bulbs and grit in case of poor weather or if supplies become hard to come by.

It’s also vital to reduce ice build-up in areas where your forklifts operate. If you have a salter attachment (see tip 5!) you can sort this easily, but in a pinch, gritting by hand is also an option.

Any exterior lights should be checked to ensure they’re working and strong enough to provide visibility in difficult conditions. If they don’t, it’s important to replace them whilst the weather is mild, so that your team doesn’t have to choose straws as to who goes up to replace them in the rain.

Remember to always keep walkways clear and well-marked. Not only does this keep pedestrians safe, but also aids driver awareness.

Additional training

Did you know, that according to the British Safety Council, 25% of workplace transport injuries are due to forklift truck accidents? Ensuring that your drivers are fully trained to cope with all conditions not only benefits the productivity of your business, but also the safety of everyone.

Frequent training sessions not only promote operator culture but also prepare them for seasonal issues, such as bad traction or visibility caused by wet, winter weather. It also provides them the knowledge and ability to spot potential dangers to themselves or the machinery.

If you’re unsure of what training could benefit your operators, why not get in touch with our experienced team, who will be more than happy to help. You can reach us on 01933 228127, or by emailing us at info@askhitec.co.uk.

Maintenance

Although regular maintenance and thorough inspections are part and parcel for the day to day running of many forklift operations, you might be surprised that additional checks and a mid-winter tune up can go a long way in protecting your machinery from expensive damage.

The cold weather can play havoc with your forklifts, so it’s important to ensure that your drivers perform safety checks before each shift use and report any problems straight away. Common issues that often arise include:

  • Loss of tyre pressure and reduced tyre tread
  • The jamming of engines and/or hydraulics
  • Batteries losing charge at an accelerated rate

It’s also vital that lights are kept in a clean condition, otherwise visibility may be reduced and that coolant and antifreeze levels are maintained (specialised winterised fluids can help aid performance).

Forklift attachments for snow and ice

A snowed in yard is not only unsafe, but inaccessible, severely impeding the productivity of your forklift operations. There are several different pieces of equipment that once attached to your forklift, can help deal with snow and ice control.

These include:

  • Ploughs allow you to push and remove snow
  • Scoops allow you to pick up and pile snow in a safe place so that it’s out of the way
  • Salters help improve traction for machinery and pedestrians

If you’re unsure about what forklift attachments would work best for you, there are a large variety of options available of different sizes and capabilities. Our experienced team would be more than happy to help provide advice on whatever attachment you’re considering. We can be reached by email at info@askhitec.co.uk and by phone on 01933 228127.

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