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Is Your Forklift Winter Ready?

Make sure your forklifts are safe this winter. Bitter temperatures, reduced daylight hours and ice-covered surfaces all pose risks to your forklift trucks, but a few simple checks and tweaks will ensure your operators remain safe.

Forklift Training Procedures

Use this checklist to get your forklifts ready for winter.

Check tyres

Two elements of your tyres should be inspected for winter: tread depth and air pressure.

Larger tread depth provides better grip. You should check the tread depth of your tyres and consider replacing them if you think more grip is required. Winter tyres should have a tread depth of at least 4mm, and many tyres offer unique tread designs for improved traction.

Check your tyre pressure to ensure it is at the optimum level. Tyre pressure in winter should be inflated by 0.2 bar above that of summer tyres. Never over-inflate your tyres; this will reduce the amount of contact your forklift has with the floor. Equally, tyres that are under-inflated will increase the amount of rolling resistance experienced by the forklift. Both cases lead to suboptimal handling and control.

Check battery

The freezing temperatures will place greater strain on your forklift’s engine. The truck will have to work harder to maintain standard output levels, so expect the battery to drain more quickly. You should check your battery for excessive wear and replace it if you think it will struggle. 

Check lights 

With night falling earlier in winter, there’s a good chance you’ll be using your forklift in the dark. It’s crucial that your lights are in good working order.

Test the lights to make sure they function correctly. You should also check for any signs of wear and replace the lights if necessary. You may also want to consider upgrading to LED lights. LED lights are brighter and last longer than halogen bulbs, plus they’re energy efficient and more resistant to cold weather.

Check fluids

Ensure you are using winterised fluids and lubricants in your forklift to prevent the formation of ice gelling or clouding. 

If your forklift has a diesel engine, you may also need to purchase winterised fuel or include winterised additives into the fuel system.

Provide additional training

You must provide additional training to your forklift operators on how to use the forklift safely during winter. It is important each operator carries out the necessary checks each time they use the forklift. This includes:

  • Conducting an inspection of the forklift for any issues before use.
  • Adjust settings depending on the weather.
  • Warm up the forklift before operating.
  • Reduce speed to account to account for icy surfaces
  • Use lights when necessary.
  • Avoid short run times.
  • Clean the forklift after use.
  • Store the forklift in a warm and sheltered location when not in use.

Obtain professional maintenance

To ensure your forklift trucks are as safe as they can possibly be for the winter, have them checked by professionals. 

East Midlands Forklifts provides a comprehensive maintenance service, including forklift maintenance, forklift refurbishment and forklift repairs. We will inspect your entire fleet of forklifts and provide all the necessary parts that will get your forklift ready for winter. With a huge selection of spare parts and products, plus the top maintenance professionals in the East Midlands, you can feel confident that your operators are driving safely. 

For more information about our maintenance service, or to hire a forklift on a flexible contract, get in touch with our team today.

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