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

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.