Category Archives for "Forklift Tyres"

Investing in Solid Forklift tyres

Should You Invest in Solid Forklift Tyres?

Solid Tyres Could Provide a Solid Performance

Forklifts are the modern workhorse of most manufacturing and warehouse facilities. Forklift tyres provide full support for the loads they carry. Therefore, choosing the right tyres for your forklift ensures that it runs at optimum performance and remains safe in a busy workplace.

Should You Use Solid Forklift Tyres?

Unlike pneumatic tyres, which are filled with air, there is no inner tube or air layer that needs to be inflated in a solid forklift tyre. At present, solid tyres are only used for slow vehicles that carry heavy loads. For example, your car does not use solid tyres because they would place additional strain on the engine, brakes, suspension and axles. The technical reason for this is that rotating mass stores energy and therefore the heavier solid tyre would require more energy to start and stop.

However, in forklift applications, solid tyres may prove advantageous.

4 Advantages of Solid Forklift Tyres

  1. Resilience

Durability and resilience often make solid tyres the best choice for your forklift tyres. As they are not inflated with air, you do not have to worry about punctures or blowouts that would negatively impact your warehouse or factory’s productivity.

  1. Advanced Design

Solid tyres use advanced design and technology to ensure optimum performance for your forklift. Solid forklift tyres are manufactured from advanced materials, with tried-and-tested rubber formulations to improve handling and increase resilience in a range of environments.

Forklifts carry heavy loads, and as such, solid tyres have been designed to be durable, giving them a long life and making them difficult to wear down. Rigorous physical and chemical testing is often carried out to combat any problems that may be encountered in various work environments – so you have added peace of mind that all your machinery will be running when needed.

  1. Safety

Pneumatic and solid wheel rings can be used interchangeably. However, using an inflated tyre there is a greater chance that, on impact with obstacles, there will be serious deformation on the tyre. The compressed air could cause a bulge in the tyre if the carcass cord is fractured, creating a safety hazard.

With pneumatic tyres, there is also the danger of a ‘tyre crash’. If the wheel of the forklift is under high stress, there is the chance that it may come off, which can lead to dropped loads or the risk of an overturn.

  1. Performance

Picking the right tyres for your forklift is vital for the vehicle to maintain optimal performance. According to a Forklift Briefing Test, good-quality tyres can move up to 14% more pallets during a single shift. To maximise productivity on your forklifts you should start from the ground up and make tyres your first consideration. If you are working in an environment that has a high potential for tyre damage, solid tyres are your best option.

2 Disadvantages of Solid Forklift Tyres

  1. Discomfort

In general, there are no serious disadvantages to using solid tyres on your forklift. The only notable disadvantage is that there may be some slight discomfort for the driver compared to pneumatic tyres.

  1. Less Suitable for Outdoor Use

Solid forklift tyres can be used for light outdoor use. However, they are not recommended to be used outdoors for the long term or on rough terrain. Thus, if your forklift mainly operates outdoors or on rough terrain, solid tyres may not be the most practical and safe option for you.

Summary

Solid tyres are a great option for many work environments. However, you should pick your tyres for the task that they are needed for. Solid tyres have excellent resistance and are great for workplaces where your forklift may encounter sharp objects or nails. However, if your forklift will be running over rough terrain outdoors, pneumatic tyres would be a better option.

When was the last time you had your forklift tyres checked? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

Forklift Tyres

Should you puncture-proof your forklift tyres?

Advantages and disadvantages of foam filled forklift tyres

A constant problem for forklift operators is their tyres going flat, either because of puncture or air leakage. When forklift tyres go flat, you suffer stability and handling issues. If a tyre needs changing, you lose productive time. Choosing the best tyres for your forklift is essential to keep maintenance and running costs low and productivity high.

In this article, you’ll learn the benefits of foam-filling your forklift tyres to puncture-proof them.

Why foam filled forklift tyres?

There are several different types of forklift tyre, though the most common are pneumatic and solid tyres:

  • Pneumatic (air-filled) tyres provide better cushioning on rough ground and are made from a wear-resistant rubber compound. However, they are not puncture-proof, and over time the air pressure will fall as air escapes the tyre (a curse on all pneumatic tyres). Extreme temperatures also affect a tyre’s air pressure.
  • Solid tyres are puncture-proof, but do not offer the same smooth ride provided by pneumatics. Because of this, operators may suffer more back pain. Solid tyres are very commonly fitted to forklifts that operate on smooth surfaces in warehouses and factories, where there is less risk of damage to load or operator.

Foam-filling your forklift tyres may retain some of the qualities of pneumatic tyres while gaining the lower maintenance costs of solid tyres.

What is foam filling?

Instead of air, your tyres are filled with fluids that make them solid. A tyre specialist will fill to the recommended pressure, and this pressure will remain constant, without the need to check air and maintain air pressure.

What are the benefits of foam-filled forklift tyres?

There are several benefits that a forklift operator might experience by foam filled tyres. You should maintain the performance of a pneumatic tyre while gaining the resilience of a solid tyre. Therefore, you could find that your vehicle suffers less axle stress, and the increased ballast will improve stability. The shock absorption should be better than experienced with solid tyres, and traction will be like that of pneumatic tyres.

The biggest benefit, though, is that they don’t lose tyre pressure or go flat.

Foam filled tyres can reduce your running costs

Foam fill your forklift tyres and you wave goodbye to costly punctures. With better shock absorption than solid tyres, there is less stress on operators and the forklift. This should reduce illness and injury as well as forklift maintenance costs.

If your forklift tyres are constantly bursting, the losses caused by disruption to work can be large. Perhaps running to thousands of dollars each year, when all costs are considered. Foam-filling your tyres could eliminate much of this cost.

What are the disadvantages of foam filled forklift tyres?

Where so many advantages are obtainable, there are always some disadvantages. While foam filled forklift tyres may prove a better option for many sites, they won’t be the best choice for all.

For example, foam filled tyres are as much as three times heavier than pneumatic tyres. Therefore, they are harder to push and don’t provide quite the same bounce of pneumatic tyres.

Another disadvantage is the initial cost of foam-filling forklift tyres. The filling solution is far more expensive than air. Also, when you do need to replace a foam filled tyre, it may be necessary to replace the entire wheel.

In summary

For a business that relies on its forklifts, tyre costs should be a prime consideration. Puncture-proofing your forklift tyres could reduce your maintenance and running costs, especially if you currently suffer from a lot of punctures, flat tyres, or other maintenance issues associated with tyres.

However, the choice of forklift tyre depends on many factors, such as your current tyre history, application and environment in which your forklift operates. Our tyre specialists in our Darra Tyres shop can help you choose the best tyre for the job, whether it is pneumatic, solid, or foam filled.

Foam filled tyres may not require frequent maintenance, but their total cost of ownership can be higher due to replacement or refilling after it has been worn down.

Don’t let your loads, drivers and bottom line suffer from poor forklift tyre choice. Come and speak to us in our Brisbane forklift tyre shop. We’ll help you to get the most out of your forklift tyres from day one.

If you’ve got any questions or queries, call our team on 3333 5510 now. We’re here to help.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road, (and warehouse)

Kevin Wood

How-to-prepare-your-forklift-tyres-for-the-Queensland-summer

How to prepare your forklift tyres for the Queensland summer

4 tips for forklift operators to work more efficiently

Boy, this year has gone by quickly. This time last year, I was writing a blog post and asking if your forklift inspection routines are putting your business at risk. It doesn’t seem more than five minutes ago that I was putting pen to paper (or, should I say, fingers to keyboard) and providing those tips to help reduce forklift accidents in the workplace.

Now, it seems like we’re hurtling headlong into the summer season here in Queensland. Indications are that it’s going to be a hot one. Sun and heat affect your forklift tyres, and if you don’t do a little extra maintenance on them it could cost more money and risk causing injuries.

So, it’s worth reminding all businesses using forklifts that the change in weather increases the possibility to forklift tyre failures. With this in mind, here are the most important forklift tyre maintenance tips to help safety in warehouses, distribution centres, and any other location where forklifts are used.

1.    Check forklift tyre inflation

I’d recommend that forklift tyre pressures are checked at least once a day – before the working shift starts. Remember that inflation should be checked when the tyres are cold. Poorly inflated tyres adversely affect stability and traction and increase the risk of accidents.

Underinflated tyres also heat up faster. They wear quicker. This all adds up to a greater chance of tyre failure, and the need to replace them more often – and that’s going to increase your forklift tyre costs.

2.    Check the tread on your forklift tyres

Tyre pressure isn’t the only consideration at this time of year. Poor tread depth will also affect traction and handling. Look for signs of wear and tear as well as damage. If your forklift tyre tread is too shallow, when your operators drive in wet conditions the tyres won’t disperse the water well. The chance of aquaplaning and skidding is increased, and this will put both loads and pedestrians at risk.

Poor tread affects steering, braking, handling and, therefore, safety. A summer storm can turn an outside yard into an ice rink. Your forklift operators will need extra grip to work safely and efficiently.

3.    Stick to the manufacturer’s and operator’s manuals

Health and safety should be a primary concern for all businesses. Poorly maintained forklift tyres compromise this, risking expensive damage to the vehicle and, even worse, injury to operators and others.

Businesses should ensure that their operators carry out regular checks as part of their routine. This can be incorporated into job descriptions, with the operator following the manufacturer’s and operator’s manuals, paying particular attention to the tyre, rim, and wheel nuts.

4.    Other essential forklift checks for the summer months

Operators shouldn’t neglect other elements of mechanical safety on their forklifts. Warmer weather can reduce battery fluid levels and increase corrosion. Batteries should be regularly checked and cleaned to remove rust, and fluid levels should be checked and topped up.

Another issue that can be easily avoided is that of overheating. It takes a few seconds to check radiator fluid levels and make sure that hoses are correctly connected. Missing this one check could cost hours of operation, and low fluid levels increase the chance of costly engine damage.

Finally, check all belts and fans for cracks, holes and fraying. If these components are in poor shape, the efficiency of engine fans will be decreased and the temperature that your engine runs at will rise faster.

For any advice, or to enquire about our forklift tyre and fleet tyre services and discover why so many businesses in Brisbane put their faith in our technicians, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Get-your-forklift-tyres-ready-for-the-changing-Queensland-weather

Get your forklift tyres ready for the changing Queensland weather

Tips for forklift tyre safety and cost saving

As we head toward spring and summer in Queensland, Brisbane businesses will be preparing for warmer weather. This includes ensuring your forklift tyres are fit for a new season as your business grows.

In this article, you’ll find three tips to get your forklift tyres spring and summer ready here in Brisbane.

1.    Check for tyre damage

Damaged forklift tyres reduce handling and braking ability on forklifts. This makes it more difficult for operators to work effectively, and it increases the danger that forklifts pose to pedestrians in your warehouse or distribution centre. This is before any cost of damaged goods is considered.

Forklift tyres are among the most abused. They come into constant contact with kerbs and other structures. If not inflated properly, underinflation increases damage through wear and tear. Worn forklift tyres are dangerous and most susceptible to blowouts.

Put a regular tyre check on your forklift operators’ checklist, to discover the cuts, grazes and bumps that reduce the effectiveness of a forklift’s tyres and could put them and others at risk of injury through an avoidable accident.

2.    Check your forklift tyres’ tread depth

The tread on your forklift tyres is essential to the traction your forklift gets when being driven. The correct tread depth will ensure that water is dispersed effectively and forklifts don’t aquaplane – a risk when the roads are hot and dry and then wetted by a sudden rainfall (or water used in your yard).

Tread aids handling. It increases grip and reduces braking distances.

Take the time to inspect all your forklift tyres and ensure that they have the correct tread. If not, have them replaced now.

3.    Never operate forklifts on incorrectly inflated tyres

Ensure that your forklift operators check their forklift tyre inflation pressures at least once per day. This is best done at the start of a shift when the tyre is cold.

Poorly inflated forklift tyres increase the risks of reduced stability, decreased traction, and faster tyre wear. Tyres with lower-than-required pressures will heat up faster. They will fail earlier, and this will increase your forklift tyre costs.

By following these three forklift tyre tips, your forklift tyres should last longer and improve health and safety in the workplace. Your employees will thank you, as will your bottom line.

One final tip: never remove an inflated tyre from a forklift, and ensure that only trained and authorised forklift tyre fitters remove and install tyres and wheels on your forklifts.

For more information about our forklift tyres and services for businesses, call Darra Tyres, and learn why Brisbane businesses put their faith in us.

Keeping your family and fleet safe,

Kevin Wood

tips-for-effective-forklift-operation-in-Brisbane-in-autumn-and-winter

Tips for effective forklift operation in Brisbane in autumn and winter

Create good habits to increase safety and efficiency

We may only be partly through summer in Brisbane, but a recent conversation with a friend in Europe got me thinking about forklift safety in autumn and winter here in Queensland. We’re lucky that we don’t have to deal with the harsh winter conditions they experience in countries like France, Switzerland, and Italy.

Forklift operators in the extremely cold winters of Finland and Norway have it even tougher. They need to use accessories like snow chains on their tyres for months at a time. No need for snow chains here in Brisbane, but with autumn approaching, it is time to make certain that your forklift operations will ensure you maintain safety and productivity as the weather changes.

In this article, you’ll learn a few forklift tips that will help operators stay safe and save money on your forklift tyres through autumn and winter.

Seasonal problems facing forklift operators in Queensland

As the weather changes, drivers experience wet and slippery conditions. The colder weather affects both forklift and driver. Fog season affects visibility.

To mitigate such problems, take care of your forklifts and your operators.

Keep on top of forklift tyre maintenance

There are several forklift tyre maintenance checks that are essential. You may already be doing these – that’s best practice – but if you aren’t, you must change your routine for the winter. Here are a few tips to keep your forklift tyres in top condition and most effective in the autumn and winter:

·      Check air pressures every day

Temperature plays with air pressure. The colder it gets, the lower the pressure moves. When a forklift tyre is underinflated, the driver loses traction. The slippery ground becomes even more slippery. Accidents increase, causing damage to goods and people.

On the other hand, if the weather warms up, the air pressure in a tyre increases. This is when blow-outs occur.

Check tyre air pressures daily. Make sure they are inflated correctly. You’ll suffer fewer accidents and increase the life of your tyres.

·      Check tread depth

Correct tread depth gives the right amount of traction, making handling better and driving safer. The driver has a more comfortable ride, and braking is more efficient.

·      Check general forklift tyre condition

Check your tyres for cuts, scrapes, and bulging, as well as bald patches and uneven wear. You can learn a lot from the condition of your forklift’s tyres – including how operators drive your forklift. If any damage or excessive wear is noticed, deal with the issue quickly – safety is at risk, as well as productivity.

Make sure you know how to tell it is time to replace your forklift tyres.

Keep your operator safe in colder weather

Make sure your forklift operators are prepared for colder weather conditions. They should:

  • Wear appropriate clothing, including gloves and hats if needed.
  • Take breaks to rest eyes and warm up from being in the colder weather
  • Allow forklift trucks to warm up properly
  • Ensure that there is enough lighting for safe operation when working outside
  • Tell your operators to:
    • Slow down
    • Stop working if it is unsafe to continue (e.g. poor visibility, torrential rain, or slippery ground)

(Read our article “7 tips to help forklift operators increase warehouse safety”, for more general safety advice.)

Keep your forklifts in top condition

Paramount to safety and efficiency, you’ll want to keep your forklifts in top condition. Here are some tips to help you do so:

  • Keep your forklifts clean
  • Undertake daily checks, paying special attention to fluids, moving parts, and tyres
  • Keep batteries fully charged

Create good forklift operation habits all year

I’ve written these tips because they are so relevant for the change in weather that is approaching. But in truth, most apply all year. By checking your vehicle and tyres daily, you’ll get better use from them. They’ll last longer, and maintenance issues will be quickly recognised and cheaper to deal with. Most importantly, keeping your forklift and its tyres in good condition will help to increase safety in the workplace.

Are you certain that you are maintaining your forklift effectively? When was the last time you benefitted from a tyre check on your forklifts? To find out about our comprehensive tyre services and how they could help you cut costs on your forklift operations, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the road and in the workplace,

Kevin Wood

what-are-the-four-most-critical-forklift-parts

What are the four most critical forklift parts?

Maintenance tips to keep forklift operation costs down

Every machine has parts that it can’t operate without. These must be maintained properly to ensure you get the longest and most effective wear from them. Forklift trucks are no exception. They are used every day, in some plants and factories 24/7. This level of use hammers forklifts and can add huge costs to your operation. Like all machinery, some parts are more critical than others.

Ensuring that you check and maintain these four parts properly will improve workplace safety, increase productivity, and decrease costs associated with forklift maintenance.

1.    All the moving parts

OK, so a bit of a cheat here, but ALL the moving parts must be effectively maintained. You must ensure that they are properly lubricated. This reduces damage caused by friction. Make sure that bearings are inspected and changed when they are worn.

Don’t neglect rust on your forklift. Rust also increases friction between moving parts and increases damage.

If you run a forklift with worn parts, you risk damaging other parts. You will get less effective use, the engine will need to work harder, and eventually, the worn part will cause damage to other parts. Neglecting the moving parts of your forklift only increases the possibility of a very expensive breakdown.

2.    Forklift fluids

Fluids – including hydraulic, brake, antifreeze, and gas fluids – must be checked regularly. Make it part of your daily check routine, and you will quickly notice if something is amiss. Low fluid levels can be catastrophic:

  • Radiators should be checked for leaks
  • Check the oil
  • Ensure that hydraulic fluids are maintained
  • Keep the coolant topped up

Ignore these basics at your peril. Daily checks and records will ensure that your forklift operates at peak efficiency. Rapidly depleting fluids will quickly alert you to possible maintenance issues that must be dealt with.

3.    The dashboard

Forklift drivers should have one eye on the dashboard at all times. Gauges and warning lights alert drivers to engine problems and low fluid levels. If these gauges and warning lights aren’t working, you risk lessening the life of your forklift. You also risk dangerous operation.

It is essential that a forklift’s dashboard works, and works well. You wouldn’t want to drive a car without a functioning dashboard. A forklift is not the exception that proves this rule.

4.    Forklift tyres

Forklift tyres may be the most crucial of all moving parts on your forklift. They are expensive elements of a forklift, too, and so must be treated well to lengthen their life and reduce your costs.

Tyre maintenance is essential. The condition of your forklift’s tyres affects efficiency, driver comfort, and safety. Ensuring that you get the best life from your tyres starts before you buy new forklift tyres. You must know how to choose forklift tyres for the job and type of forklift.

To get the best life from your tyres, do these three things:

Are you certain that you are maintaining your forklift effectively? When was the last time you benefitted from a tyre check on your forklifts? To find out about our comprehensive tyre services and how they could help you cut costs on your forklift operations, contact Darra Tyres.

Keeping you safe on the road and in the workplace,

Kevin Wood

How to choose your forklift tyre in Brisbane in 2018

What tyre does your forklift need, and how will it last longer?

Is it time to replace your forklift tyres? Is the top of the tyre worn to the wear line? Is the tyre chipped, slashed, gouged, or damaged? Has it got flat spots or uneven wear?

There are several types of forklift tyre used by businesses in Brisbane. Which type you should buy will depend upon several factors. These include:

  • The type of terrain on which the forklift will operate
  • How often the forklift is used
  • Whether the tyre is to be used indoors, outdoors, or both
  • Loads to be carried

In this article, you’ll learn what type of forklift tyre is best for your operation, and how to make your forklift tyres last longer.

Your forklift tyre choice: what are the options?

The main types of forklift tyre available are:

·      Cushion tyres

Ideal for use on smooth surfaces, like concrete floor warehouses, and in facilities where tight turning is a requirement.

·      Pneumatic tyres

These are like the tyres used on cars and trucks: rubber, and with deep tread. They help to cushion the blow between rougher terrain and the forklift, making for a more comfortable operator experience.

·      Solid tyres

These are like pneumatic tyres, except they are not air-filled. Thus, the operator and forklift don’t benefit from the same cushioning effect. However, they don’t puncture, and so last a long time. They are best suited to indoor use, though are also good on smooth outdoor surfaces.

·      Foam-filled forklift tyres

Instead of being filled with air, these tyres are filled with a foam that prevents punctures. They also provide the cushioning of pneumatic tyres.

·      Non-marking tyres

These solid tyres have had carbon black removed, and so are ideal for indoor use where it is important not to mark floors. The downside is that they tend not to last as long because the lack of carbon black shortens their life.

Three ways to extend you forklift tyre life

Whichever type of tyre you buy for your forklift operation, you’ll want to get the best value for money. To do so, it’s essential that they last for as long as possible. There are three things you should do to help forklift tyre life:

1.     Use them properly

Driving correctly on tyres is essential. Sudden braking, spinning, or sharp starts and turns all contribute to tyre wear. Make sure your operators understand that good driving habits are important to maintain tyres, as well as safety standards during operation.

2.     Tyre inflation

Check your tyre inflation pressures regularly, and at least once per month. Make sure the valve has a cap to prevent dirt from getting into the tyre.

3.     Tyre storage

Store forklift tyres in a cool, clean place. Keep them away from oil and dirt.

Only store forklift tyres for a few months – even when not being used, tyre rubber degrades.

Do solid tyres last longer?

We’re often asked if solid tyres are really worth their price. Of course, your choice should first be dependent on your need – where the tyre will be used and what for. Generally, if you look after a solid tyre, it should last up to three times longer than a pneumatic tyre.

Wherever your forklift operates, Darra Tyres has the tyres you need. With more than 100 years of combined experience in the forklift tyre market, you’ll find our personal but professional approach refreshing. Contact Darra Tyres today, and we’ll help you navigate the highly competitive market and select the best forklift tyres from the huge range available.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

7 tips to help forklift operators increase warehouse safety

Habits of the safest forklift operators in Queensland

In our last article, we asked, are your forklift inspection routines putting your business at risk? With around four deaths caused by forklift accidents every year in Australia, in this article, we give you seven tips on how to operate your forklift safely in the workplace. These are the habits of the best forklift operators in Queensland.

1.    Communicate constantly

Even though as a forklift operator you’re in something of a cocoon in the cab, communication with those around you is probably one of the most important things to do. Constantly making sure that people know what you’re doing and where you’re going helps in two ways. First, they’ll be warier of your presence. Second, you’ll be warier of theirs.

2.    Always secure the load

Hard-to-handle loads are more prone to topple. Unevenly distributed loads are more likely to cause forklift instability. Never transport an unsecured load on a forklift: one item falling can lead to a domino effect, and suddenly the entire load has gone.

3.    Plan your route around the warehouse

Warehouses can be busy, complex places. Make sure you know where you are going and how to get there. Some channels may be too narrow or have dangerous obstacles. Operating a forklift can be challenging and enjoyable, but a warehouse is not a slalom course or a racetrack. Always select the easiest and safest route around a warehouse, even if it’s a little further to travel. Be careful of other warehouse users, too: you may have to wait while another process is being completed.

4.    Park up safely when your shift has finished

Always park in an authorised location, lower the fork, set controls to neutral, put the brake on, turn off the ignition, and remove the key.

5.    Inspect your forklift regularly

Your pre-shift forklift inspection is the most important one to make. Check everything from oil and water to seatbelts, electrics, and coolants. Don’t neglect the check: it could save lives.

6.    Pay special attention to battery and hydraulic fluid

Your battery needs to be fully charged, and your hydraulic levels must be maintained. A mishap with either of these could cause a breakdown or fork failure. If this happens, you could be the cause of a serious accident in the warehouse.

7.    Know the forklift tyre warning signs

Your forklift tyres are integral to the job your forklift does. They are often the most overlooked piece of forklift equipment. When you inspect your forklift, don’t forget the tyres. Here are the warning signs that your tyres need to be replaced, which are different for pneumatic and cushion tyres:

  • Wear and tear take its toll on pneumatic forklift tyres. You should inspect for cuts, grazes, and tread wear. Look at inner and outer edges and the centre of the tyre for signs of balding. If the cord is visible, the tyre needs replacing immediately.
  • On cushion tyres, you should look out for flat spots, tearing, and cracks. These issues have different causes, and if they are happening regularly then you should have a tyre expert help you to identify why. If your tyres have worn down to the 50% wear line, you should replace the tyre immediately.

Worn or poorly inflated forklift tyres are one of the main causes of poor forklift safety in the warehouse. Worn tyres make for an unstable forklift, an uncomfortable drive, and they add to fuel consumptions and maintenance cost.

To find out about our comprehensive tyre services for forklift operators in Queensland, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your business and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Are your forklift inspection routines putting your business at risk?

What should forklift operators check, and when?

While most forklift accidents are caused by the operator (they get complacent about safety, and push boundaries to speed up work processes), many could be avoided with a daily forklift inspection. In this blog post, you’ll learn what your forklift operators should be checking before they begin work and at the end of a shift.

How bad can a forklift accident be?

It’s easy to assume that a forklift accident will, at worst, lead to damaged goods, or perhaps a mechanical problem with the forklift. Unfortunately, statistics show otherwise. According to Safe Work Australia, since 2003 there have been 61 deaths caused by forklift accidents in Australia.

In addition to these fatalities, there are regularly more than 900 serious injury claims each year, because of forklifts. A serious injury claim is one that causes one week or more of lost time from work. The industries where most serious injury claims are made are manufacturing, followed by transport, postal, warehousing, wholesale, and then retail.

And get this: the average time off work as a result of incidents with forklifts in 2014/15 was 5.4 weeks, at an average cost of $11,043 per claim.

Australian industry is losing, on average, around 4,860 weeks of productive work, just because of forklift accidents!

How can you reduce forklift accidents in the workplace?

To reduce the number of accidents, injury claims, and fatalities caused by forklifts in the workplace, it is, of course, essential that forklift operators observe forklift handling rules always. Regular training and retraining may be necessary, and supervisors should emphasise safety over speed.

However, over and above operator error, many injuries and fatalities could be avoided by ensuring equipment is properly inspected before and after the operation. Unfortunately, forklift inspections are often neglected, with sometimes catastrophic results.

When should forklift inspections be carried out?

Operators should certainly inspect their forklifts before starting work. Yes, the warehouse may be busy, and the forklift operator will get the blame for holding up loading and delivery. Truck drivers are waiting, and their time is running down. But none of this is an excuse for shoddy safety routine.

Checking the forklift at the beginning of the shift should be the operator’s first priority. It could save their life and the lives of others. When the shift is finished, the operator should inspect the tyres again.

There is no excuse for not inspecting your forklift before a shift begins or when a shift ends. Forklift operators, supervisors, and the business should ask themselves what is more important – avoiding a ten-minute delay in delivery, or avoiding a death or serious injury on site?

What if problems are found?

If a problem is uncovered during a forklift inspection, there is only one course of action to take: pull the forklift from service. Get the problem fixed. If the forklift’s tyres are the issue, have them repaired onsite. The forklift should not be put back into operation until it is deemed safe to do so.

What should be on your forklift inspection checklist?

Each operator should have a pre-operational checklist to complete. Forklift manufacturers may supply examples, but you may need to update and modify according to your actual operations. A simple tick list of checks will ensure the operator carries out a thorough inspection, and that your operation is a safer place to work.

Here are a few suggestions as to what should be checked at every inspection:

  • Check oil, water, and hydraulic fluid level
  • Check and test mast chains
  • Make sure that the load backrest functions properly
  • Check finger guards
  • Test seatbelts, horns, and lights
  • Check the brakes and steering
  • Look for visible signs of forklift damage
  • Examine electrics, including cables, wires, and batteries
  • Take notice of coolant levels, and ensure air filters and radiators are in good condition
  • Check the condition of forklift tyres – look for cuts and gouges
  • Check forklift tyre pressures

Also, the operator’s manual and log book should be with the vehicle always.

Check your forklifts and stop costly accidents occurring

It’s simple really. Any accident at work will harm your business. There will always be a cost involved. At best, this may be a few hours of work lost. At worst, an employee or workplace visitor could pay with their life. Your company’s reputation will suffer, as will its finances.

Ensuring that your forklift operators carry out pre-shift checks and complete a comprehensive checklist will help to reduce accidents in your workplace – all of which are avoidable.

On top of the obvious safety issues, regular checks will mean problems are discovered early. Downtime will be reduced, as will maintenance costs: caught early, small maintenance issues shouldn’t become large and expensive mechanical problems.

To find out about our comprehensive tyre services for forklift operators in Queensland, contact Darra Tyres today.

Keeping your business and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Forklift Tyres – When is it time to replace your forklift tyres?

Forklift Tyres – The signs that it’s time to change your tyres

Your business relies on forklifts and the forklift tyres. Without them, merchandise doesn’t get shifted from factory to warehouse. It doesn’t get loaded onto your trucks, your customers don’t receive their shipments and you might not get paid. The less downtime your forklifts suffer, the more efficient your operation is. The more money you make.

When monitoring these beasts of burden, it’s easy to concentrate on the engine and hydraulics and forget the forklift tyres. They are perhaps the hardest working of all forklift components. Toyota trucks estimated that the average forklift tyre carries over 9,500 lbs. There are no suspension systems to help spread that weight. Every single ounce of your load relies on a single ring of black rubber.

A while ago I wrote about how to choose and maintain forklift tyres to cut costs. Here, I’ll discuss why it’s so important to know when to replace your forklift tyres. I’ll also describe the warning signs that your forklift tyres are wearing.

The job that forklift tyres do

Forklift tyres carry heavy loads. Even the steer tyres carry more than 1,000 lbs. Tyres that are in good condition:

  • Help to soften the driver’s ride
  • Contributes to keep the forklift stable
  • Reduce driver fatigue
  • Decrease fuel consumption
  • Reduce forklift maintenance costs

If your forklift tyres are in bad condition, your workplace efficiency could suffer. Increased driver fatigue could lead to safety issues. And then, of course, there are the cost issues: increased fuel bills, and the effect of downtime.

How do you know your forklift tyres need replacing?

There are three main types of forklift tyre. The signs that they are wearing are different for each. Cushion (or press-on) tyres are pretty much shot when a third of their rubber is worn. Pneumatic tyres need to be examined for tread wear. Resilient (or solid pneumatic) tyres can be worn down to the wear mark on the sidewall.

Forklift cushion tyre danger signs

Cushion tyres wear slowly but can be damaged easily. Watch for the following danger signs that all indicate a tyre change is needed:

  • The top of the tyre has worn down to the wear line.
  • If bits of rubber have fallen off, or there are chunks taken out of the tyre, it needs replacing.
  • Flat spots, where one part of the tyre is balder. It is usually caused by tyre spinning, sharp braking, or misalignment of wheels.
  • Tearing by sharp objects. It causes imbalance and can tip the forklift.

Forklift pneumatic tyre danger signs

Pneumatic tyres are most commonly used outdoors. Watch for these danger signs:

  • Under or over inflation will affect the stability of the forklift and increase wear. It also affects traction, reducing braking power.
  • Cuts in the tyre can cause sudden loss of air. It could cause the forklift to tip. If the cord is visible, or you notice frayed cord piles, your tyre needs replacing.
  • Bald patches should be checked for at all points on the inside and outer edges of the tyre, as well as its contact surface.
  • There’s a two-inch rule that says after two inches of tyre height is gone, almost 20% more stress is put on the vehicle. However, it’s probably better to rely on tread depth.

Forklift resilient tyre danger signs

If there is no damage to resilient tyres they can be used until wear takes the rubber down to the wear lines on the sidewall. However, you need to observe all the warning signs for both cushion and pneumatic forklift tyres, because resilient tyres are a cross between the two.

If your forklift tyres wear too much, your forklift performance will suffer. You’ll use more fuel, and safety could be compromised. The extra pressure on other moving parts (including the engine) could cause unnecessary and expensive damage. Your tyre maintenance programme should be a core part of your safety check routine as well as your vehicle maintenance regime.

The forklift tyre tips above will help your productivity and safety, and you can always contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) to get expert advice at our West Brisbane forklift tyre shop. Hey, we’ll even come and replace them for you.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

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