How long could your business continue running without a forklift truck? A week? A day? An hour?
Winter can often be as harsh as it is unpredictable, and the drastic change in operating 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 have received training so that they can deal with the adverse conditions created by snow, ice and even increased rain. Whereas wet and slippery surfaces may be an obvious consequence, less so are the hazards brought by reduced visibility and operator fatigue.
What many businesses also forget is to 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
Any business that is reliant on forklifts and other machinery for their operation should 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. It is also recommended 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.
And while most of the UK receives little to no snow each year, having suitable lighting in place is crucial, just in case. If it is, when was the last time they were checked? Chances are your employees won’t want to change a bulb when it is snowing.
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 ploughs and scoops for your model and workplace requirements, in addition to spotting potential problems before the cold strikes. These can include worn tyres, fluid leaks and more.
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 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.
If there’s something you’re unsure of our expert team will be happy to help.