Staying on top of your fleet and team during the winter months prevents issues that can arise if your not cold-weather ready, such as leaks, dead batteries and cracked radiators.
To prevent weather damage to your forklift fleet, make sure you don’t use forklifts designed for indoors to work outdoors, especially when there is a lot of snow and ice on the ground. Keep indoor work areas—such as docks and warehouse floors—clean and clear of debris like snow and ice.
Like cars, trucks and other vehicles, forklifts are susceptible to slipping and sliding on ice and snow. Given their heavy weight, they can easily slide down inclines or into embankments if not operated with extreme caution during heavy weather.
Maintenance Is Key
Be sure to have your forklifts checked by a certified forklift technician for any maintenance. The cold weather is hard on your fleet, cold temperatures can affect your forklift’s battery, hydraulics, electrical system and engine. Being prepared before the worst winter weather hits will keep your operations running smoothly. Check oil levels and lubricants, make sure the battery is holding a charge properly, and double-check all the vehicle’s primary operating systems.
It’s best to have a qualified technician check your forklift’s battery strength before the freezing temperatures hit. This takes a few minutes but saves you quite a bit of downtime in the future. Perhaps most importantly, have a technician check and winterize your cooling system. Adjust the water to coolant ratio to prevent busted radiators and—worse even—cracked blocks and heads. This is a costly repair that can always be avoided.
Remember to train your team for the challenges of the cold, getting your team ready will save time, money and is worth the investment of your time. Make sure they understand tipping dangers icy and snowy conditions can cause. Training operators properly to operate forklifts in wet and icy conditions will prevent accidents and save your team and fleet from avoidable pitfalls. Having a schedule for them to perform daily inspections of the machinery will make it easier to take care of any issues right when they arise or before they become a problem.