Electric forklifts are powerful vehicles that can carry heavy loads. But weather waits for no one, so knowing how to operate them safely in various weather conditions is critical. You may have to use an electric forklift in the rain–do you know how to do so safely?
6 Forklift Safety Tips for Inclement Weather
If you’re wondering whether you can use an electric forklift in the rain, the short answer is yes. However, there are safety precautions you can take to protect your employees, equipment, and property from any potential damage. Below are six forklift safety tips for inclement weather:
- Obtain Proper Training
- Limit Outside Distractions
- Wear Waterproof Clothing
- Ensure Visibility
- Drive Cautiously
- Consider Surface Conditions
1) Obtain Proper Training
If your employees understand the forklift safety features and receive proper training based on OSHA requirements, then many accidents can be avoided. These requirements include operator training, maintenance, and proper operation of the vehicle. You are required to evaluate your employees’ performance every three years and can ensure success in the process by supplementing their education through lectures, videos, and demonstrations.
You can examine the ingress protection ‘IP’ rating of your forklift’s componentry to determine whether or not it can safely operate in the rain. Forklifts with a rating of ‘IPX4’ or higher are safe to operate in the rain. Additionally, check the water ingress rating of your electric forklift. A zero means the forklift has no protection against water, while an 8 means the forklift is fully waterproof and could be submerged in up to 9 feet of water.
2) Limit Outside Distractions
Stay focused on the equipment you are using and limit any outside distractions. If you need to take care of something while using the vehicle, like taking a phone call, stop and park the forklift truck safely before taking your call. Keeping your eyes on the path ahead is a top priority in keeping your employees and equipment safe.
Pro Tip: Leave cell phones, food, and drinks off the truck before operating the forklift to avoid the temptation of an unsafe distraction.
3) Wear Waterproof Clothing
Protect your forklift operators by encouraging them to wear the appropriate rain gear. Gear such as waterproof jackets, pants, non-slip boots with treads to prevent falls, and uniforms or vests with reflective tape to stand out in limited visibility are important to help avoid accidents.
4) Ensure Visibility
Forklift operators should ensure that they are able to see in rainy weather. To increase visibility in inclement weather, make sure your safety lights are working and use your headlights and horn to alert others in the area. Regularly check the safety lights on the forklift and replace any as needed.
5) Drive Cautiously
Drive the lift truck in a slow and controlled manner, with your seatbelt on, to keep any materials you are handling steady and secure. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a safe distance from other people, equipment, and forklifts in the environment. By maintaining a safe distance, you give yourself room to stop if faced with the presence of a potential hazard.
6) Consider Surface Conditions
Consider the surface conditions you will be driving on before operating the lift truck. For example, if you are moving from rainy weather outdoors to an indoor environment, avoid increasing the speed as the tires will still be wet from the rain. Always proceed cautiously because making stops with wet tires will be difficult and can cause the load you are carrying to shift or even fall off.
Keep an eye on your forklift tires as well. If the tread is wearing down or the tires are damaged, replace them immediately before operating your lift in less than ideal conditions.
Reliability of Linde Forklifts
Linde forklifts are a reliable option to choose for your electric forklift fleet. As the largest manufacturer of electric lift trucks, Linde incorporates a host of safety features in their electric chassis. Standard safety equipment and intelligent systems such as the Linde Safety Pilot protect your drivers and ensure efficient handling.
Contact us to learn more about operating a forklift in bad weather conditions.