Materials handling solutions provider Briggs Equipment UK Limited is urging operators of fork lift trucks to make sure both their vehicles and operating environments are up to the job ahead of the busiest time of the year.
With Christmas less than three months away, Briggs says that a few simple checks now could save thousands of pounds in repair and maintenance costs come the end of the year.
Gavin Wickham, operations director at Briggs, says it is vital operators ensure all equipment is in tip-top condition as mishaps can prove costly in terms of repair bills, disruption to operations and personal injury claims.
"As firms prepare for the seasonal rush, it's easy for operators to overlook some obvious - and not so obvious - safety checks, leaving them open to some serious problems when they may be at their busiest," he said.
"There are some obvious checks, such as inspecting tyres, that many firms will have done already but there are a number of other factors they may not have taken into account."
According to Gavin, hoses that connect various hydraulic elements of the lifting system should also be checked at regular intervals as they naturally work loose over time.
"Tightening them up is a relatively simple process and it is certainly a worthwhile thing to do now as they will come under increasing wear over the next few months and failing to spot a loose connection could lead to a serious, but totally avoidable failure."
However it's not just the trucks themselves that need a health check. Instead of waiting for a ‘spring' clean, working environments need to be looked at ahead of busy periods and not left to be cleaned up afterwards.
"The condition of flooring can have an impact on tyre wear and potholes can cause even more significant and immediate damage," Gavin said. "Even discarded shrink-wrap can get caught in wheels, leading to breakdowns that can be costly to repair and will disrupt operations.
"Keeping operating areas clean and tidy is good health and safety practice at all times but leading into busy periods it is more important than ever."
One final tip offered by Gavin is to carry out a thorough review of operational needs. Trucks can be damaged if they are used to lift loads that they are not designed for.
"It makes sense to take stock of your fleet's capabilities and see if the trucks themselves are up to the tasks ahead. Bolstering the fleet through short-term hire can be a cost effective way of ensuring that the busiest period of the year remains a profitable one without the upset of unexpected repair bills," he added.