Now we’re heading into the cold season, it’s important to ensure your warehouse and the equipment contained within it is running efficiently and safely. Forklift malfunctions or unhappy, cold employees can have a detrimental effect on your business.
Here we address the key points you need to consider to keep your operations running smoothly.
One of the biggest challenges you face during the winter is maintaining a reasonable temperature in your warehouse. The law doesn’t state a minimum temperature, but the Health and Safety Executive recommends that it doesn’t fall below 13°C in areas where your employees are using “rigorous physical effort”. This can be difficult in winter, particularly if the main doors open frequently, which can quickly send warehouse temperatures plummeting if it’s freezing outside.
Strip doors installed at your main entrance will reduce the impact of the outside conditions when employees or forklift trucks are coming and going. Consider using insulated curtain walls to seal off the parts of your warehouse that you aren’t using, meaning there’s less space to heat. They can be put up and removed as needed – perfect if you run a business where the warehouse space you require fluctuates with the seasons.
Before the cold months begin, make sure your employees have suitable warm clothing for the job, including thick non-slip gloves, hats and thick socks. Have
hot drinks easily available, as well as a warm room for breaks. Whichever heating system you use, if the temperature falls below 13°C, you may have to call in some temporary back up in the form of portable industrial heaters.
In addition to the regular maintenance on your forklift trucks – whether you have TCM forklifts, Nissan forklifts or Atlet warehouse equipment – you should also do a few basic checks on them regularly during the colder months. Freezing temperatures can cause moving parts to slow down or stop completely, so ensure they are lubricated thoroughly and check that the coolant system in diesel engine trucks has a suitable concentration of anti-freeze.
If your forklifts are going to be used outside, check the grips on the tyres to make sure the tread depth is appropriate to handle any snow or ice on the road, and fit chain tyres if necessary.
Allow the engine to warm up for a few minutes before use. This will lessen the likelihood of combustion and stops unnecessary wear and tear. Finally, a cover for your forklift trucks will protect them from freezing temperatures and also from any water, which can damage your vehicle.
As a warehouse owner, you will be well aware of the importance of keeping your floor clean and dry, but this can become increasingly hard in winter when inclement conditions outside such as snow and heavy rain can be trudged into your warehouse every time person comes in.
Put thick, absorbent mats at every entrance for employees to thoroughly wipe their feet, to minimise the amount of water they bring in from outside. Invest in truck mats to cover your goods entrances, which will draw water and dirt away from the forklifts. Finally, increase your floor checks and clean up any excess water immediately.
Don’t forget, as well as selling forklifts, we also offer forklift hire in Hull, Harrogate, York and the surrounding areas. Our long term hire also comes with the added benefit of inclusive maintenance costs, giving you extra peace of mind during the winter months.