Most of the UK has so far escaped the arctic conditions that brought the country to a standstill last year, but winter is far from over and could still cause problems for businesses according to a leading supplier of fork lift trucks.
With forecasters predicting an imminent cold spell, Briggs Equipment is urging companies to take another look at their winter preparedness to avoid any unnecessary downtime or expense.
"So far the winter has been relatively mild, but this is no excuse to skip on some basic measures to ensure that your fork lift trucks and other materials handling equipment continue to run smoothly in all weathers," explained Dean Mansell, Engineering Standards Manager for Briggs Equipment
"The majority of our clients have already taken precautions but with much colder weather predicted for many parts of the country from mid-January onwards, now would be a good time to review them.
"Companies that haven’t made plans may have got away with it so far, but they really do risk being caught out if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse."
A few basic checks recommending by Briggs include:Make sure the coolant system in engine trucks has a suitable concentration of anti-freeze.
Ensure oil and other lubricants are kept topped up to keep the truck running smoothly in the cold.
Check that the service schedule on all trucks is up to date and carry out daily checks on significant components.
Make sure that all outdoor areas where trucks operate are kept free of ice and snow.
Ensure that operators know how to use the equipment safely in adverse conditions.
Dean continued: "It is vital to note that batteries in electric trucks will not operate at maximum efficiency in very cold weather, so additional charging time will need to be planned for. It’s also worth keeping in extra fuel on site in case supplies are disrupted."
Even if the UK avoids a big freeze, there are other weather-related problems that firms should be aware of. Heavy rain can lead to a muddy working environment and it is important that trucks are cleaned regularly to avoid becoming clogged up with debris such as dead leaves.
Dean’s final comment: "Remember that the equipment is only as effective as the operator, so make sure they are suitably equipped to face the conditions, with warm, waterproof clothing."