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With winter knocking on the door across Britain, companies located in areas prone to moderate snowfall are beginning to make their plans for battling inclement weather. Some companies will be utilising snowplough attachments along with their forklifts to remove snow from car parks and loading docks. We advise extreme caution when doing so. A bit of rough terrain forklift training might even be in order for inexperienced operators.

Snowplough attachments for forklifts are not uncommon in the UK. In fact, Materials Handling World magazine recently profiled a Welsh company that has been designing and building such attachments for more than 40 years. The company is expecting a fairly decent run on their snowplough attachments this year with the predictions of a colder than average winter.

The attachment connects to the front forks for easy mounting and removal. In addition, there are several options for blade size and angle adjustment, including a fixed blade. The manufacturer markets these attachments as a cost-effective way to handle the snow without having to purchase a separate piece of equipment.

Considerations for Operators

Used properly, there is no reason why a forklift snowplough cannot be used as a snow removal option in place of a more expensive truck and plough combination. However, proper use is the key factor. Using the attachment incorrectly or unsafely could lead to an accident with tragic consequences.

What most operators already know is that forklifts are not the most stable vehicles on the planet. They are designed for moving cargo using brute force; they are not designed for finesse or dealing with inclement weather. It is easy to envision a forklift pushing snow across a car park when, unexpectedly, the blade hits a manhole and turns the forklift over. These types of scenarios are a real possibility when using forklifts for snow removal.

Appropriate Training

If your forklift operators have never received appropriate training and certification, planning to use a snow removal attachment this winter is good reason to get that training taken care of. As we mentioned previously, rough terrain forklift training would be appropriate for operators tasked with snow removal.

No, the law does not require forklift operators to possess a specific commercial licence. Nevertheless, companies are required to take every reasonable step to ensure the safety of all their workers. In almost every case that ends up in court, it is determined that training is a reasonable step. Therefore, please consider providing appropriate training to your drivers before asking them to use their forklifts for snow removal. It is in your best interest as well as theirs.

The good news is that the HGV Training Centre offers affordable and convenient forklift training at more than 45 facilities throughout the UK. We can get your operators into a training class as soon as you are ready to begin. Completed training will make your operators safer and more proficient behind the wheel, especially when removing snow.

Sources:

  1. Materials Handling World – http://mhwmagazine.co.uk/LatestNews/Forklift_attachment_firm_set_to_plough_through_winter_-17399.html

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