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Ensure your forklift is ready for winter with top tips from Toyota Material Handling

Toyota Material Handling UK, understand how extreme temperatures can affect business operations, not only in terms of logistics and transport but also the implications on the reliability and operation of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment.

Today, many companies’ material handling operations require trucks to cover both indoor and outdoor duties – for example forklifts and pallet trucks; and therefore need to be prepared for operation in different temperatures.
Catering for this demand, Toyota recently launched the new BT Reflex O‐series multi‐function reach truck designed to work in both indoor and outdoor applications, providing increased flexibility for customers in a wide variety of applications. This special truck can work on uneven or rough ground due to a higher ground clearance and the treaded super‐elastic tyres mean secure grip on wet or loose surfaces or worn asphalt.

In addition a range of all‐weather protection options are also available on a wide range of trucks from Toyota; including fully enclosed cabs with large clear‐screen windows for enhanced visibility, canvas cabs plus options for heaters and fans. Powerful working lights also make the truck fully functional even in darker environments.

As the winter months approach and temperatures drop, added strain is put upon key components such as batteries, alternators, tyres as well as vital service fluids such as engine oil and antifreeze. If trucks are poorly maintained and components fail, downtime is inevitable, increasing costs as well as putting added pressure onto the whole supply chain.

So, how can companies minimise such disruption to their operations and ensure their fleet is ready for the winter?

Phill Bird, Aftersales Director, Toyota Material Handling UK comments: "As part of our on‐going safety awareness campaign ‘Taking Care with Toyota’, we want to give companies simple and clear advice on looking after your fleet during the winter months. By implementing daily maintenance checks into your business operation, companies can concentrate their efforts on what really matters – running their operation."

Follow these basic tips to ensure you don’t get caught out this winter:
1. Carry out daily checks – Safety in the workplace should be paramount to any operation. Each shift should always begin with a series of daily checks to ensure that any equipment is safe to operate and that any defects are logged and quickly rectified. Ensure you follow the supplier’s recommended daily/weekly checks as outlined in the operator’s manual. For equipment operating outside, check the condition of batteries, tyres, screens, wipers, horn, lights and so on. Daily check sheets can also be downloaded from the free resources section of the Toyota website: http://www.toyotaforklifts.

2. Ensure your service history is up‐to‐date – preventative maintenance is the key to reducing the risk of any unexpected downtime. Consider regular service packages to ensure you never miss a vital service. In addition, many services include free visual health checks to highlight any issues that may lead to damage if un‐addressed. Also, worth noting is that under UK legislation all lifting equipment requires a periodic Thorough Examination. It is the responsibility of the operating site to ensure that all lifting equipment is operated within the guidelines of PUWER and LOLER legislation. For further information regarding servicing or what you need to know about Thorough Examinations contact Toyota service on 0870 850 1042 or visit www.toyotathoroughexamination.co.uk

3. Keep emergency call out / service numbers to hand – If you regularly service your equipment, breakdowns are more unlikely, but if you do experience a breakdown, ensure your operation does not grind to a halt by knowing who to contact in the event equipment failure or service needs. For more information contact Toyota Service on: 0870 850 1402.

4. Provide clothing suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments – many trucks are responsible for (un)loading both within the warehouse and yard areas. For operators exposed to regular outdoor duties, especially where trucks do not have cabins, provide warm yet highly visible clothing, gloves or hats.

5. See and be seen – driving in poor visibility or low light conditions increases the risk of accidents.
Ensure front and rear lights are used accordingly, screens are clean and free from smudges or dirt.
Wipers are operational and are in good condition. Check and regularly top up screen wash levels.
Ensure horns or reverse beepers are working correctly. In addition, yards or outdoor loading areas should be adequately lit. Poor or uneven surfaces should be addressed and main access routes free from standing water or snow.

6. Address any operator training needs – your operators are your most important asset. Ensure each operator has their training requirements fully assessed on a regular basis. Adequately trained operators will not only reduce the risk of damage to the truck, goods or racking, but will increase efficiency and reduce costs. It is recommended to address any training issues by an authorised
training body to recognised RTITB / AITB standards, conforming to the HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACoP).In addition, driving outside within the winter months is very much like driving a car. Drive according to the road conditions. Remember your braking distance is greatly increased in wet and slippery conditions. For further information contact Toyota Operator Training on 0870 850 1405 or visit www.toyota‐forklifts.co.uk.

7. Ensure you have back up equipment or access to short‐term hire trucks – if your truck needs to be out of service for a significant period, ensure your operations can continue with a back‐up truck.
Alternatively, many companies offer short‐term hire trucks and can be on your site with very little notice. For further information contact Toyota short‐term hire on 0870 850 1403 or visit www.forklifthirenow.co.uk

In line with Toyota’s Year of Safety – ‘Taking Care with Toyota’, a series of free safety resources including the recently launched Forklift Safety Guide and are available by request from: www.toyota‐forklifts.co.uk. In addition, Toyota can carry out Thorough Examinations accredited by CFTS, safety checks or fully comprehensive servicing to suit all requirements including mixed fleets. With national service coverage and over 450 field service technicians, Toyota can offer an unrivalled service backup.

For advice on preventative maintenance, servicing or products from Toyota Material Handling UK or to speak to a team member about your company’s needs visit www.toyota‐forklifts.co.uk or call 0870 850 1409

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