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,