One of the UK’s largest forklift truck suppliers, Barloworld Handling, has advised forklift users to get prepared for ice, snow and freezing conditions to ensure that any forklifts critical to a supply chain run smoothly, reliably and safely this winter.
Andrew Dawson, National Service Manager from Barloworld Handling provides some useful suggestions:
Talk to your supplier as early as possible to ensure that all forklifts are specified correctly, for example with the right forklift tyres for outdoor operation.
Ensure that the forklifts are serviced regularly otherwise the cold, wet weather could lead to increased component failures and breakdowns. Vital components such as batteries, hydraulics and electrical systems become ever more important and engines need protection from cold weather. Barloworld, for example, provides oils and lubricants to ensure engines run smoothly and efficiently.
Ice or rain may create slippery surfaces, either outdoors or on loading bays, so training drivers to be more cautious with their speed and supervision where necessary helps to reduce a number of safety risks.
If a forklift operates in a muddy or dirty environment, it is important to regularly clean the equipment to prevent parts becoming blocked or clogged.
Check the condition of the forklift tyres to ensure traction and stability in icy, wet conditions. Through its nationwide mobile tyre fitting service, Barloworld can provide planned site visits to check tread levels and tyre condition. Gritting yard areas in the snow and freezing conditions will also help to maintain traction.
Ensure forklift drivers are doing their daily checks
As it gets dark early, check there is suitable lighting on the forklifts or in external areas. Barloworld can fit lights and beacons for your truck quickly and economically.
If the forklift doesn’t have a cab for the driver you could consider upgrading the machine. Barloworld can fit screens, wipers, covers, heaters and even complete cabs depending on your requirement and budget. Additionally workers should be provided with winter clothing such as waterproof jackets, body warmers and gloves.
Always ensure that there is a reliable, experienced forklift service provider looking after the fleet, who can respond effectively in case of breakdown. Barloworld uses state-of-the-art technology to provide customers with an efficient support service 24 hours a day and in any weather conditions. It uses a web based vehicle tracking system on its vans, which allows a more efficient and speedy service response, allowing dispatchers to assign the nearest engineer according to skills and parts required.
Check the security and stock level of the fuel supply in case supply is delayed or restricted due to snow.
Check that forklift snow ploughs, scoops, salt spreaders/gritters and a wide range of other useful attachments are readily available onsite.