Safely Operating a Forklift in the Rain
For some occupations, rainy days aren’t something to worry about. In other workplaces, inclement weather can play a vital role in operations. Although perfect weather conditions make forklift operations a breeze, we know that’s not the reality – so we put together a list of important things to keep in mind when operating a forklift on those dreadful rainy days.
Dress for the job
This is something that applies for every position, but it’s especially important when operating a forklift in the rain. You should be wearing rain appropriate gear that will keep you warm, is well ventilated, and fits properly. It’s crucial that you’re not wearing clothing that’s too large or you’ll be busy adjusting it and it could cause more harm than good. If you’re wearing boots, try to aim for ones that have good treads on the bottom for better grip in slippery conditions. If you choose to wear gloves, they should fit nice and snug so they don’t affect your grip or control. A good rule of thumb is to avoid clothing that has a loose fit, dangling strings, or anything that could get in your way of safe operations.
One of the more important things to keep in mind when operating a forklift on any day, let alone on days of inclement weather, is to limit all distractions. Keep your cellphone and other electronics off the truck and avoid bringing food or drink. You want to make sure your focus is on the task at hand to limit the chances of an accident.
Similar to driving a car – it’s always safer and a good idea to lower your speed on rainy days as there is less traction and it takes longer to stop. The same goes for a forklift. Though many makes and models offer automatic deceleration, not all do and you should always drive with caution as if your truck doesn’t have this feature. Wet surfaces can create challenges when braking or turning, therefore it’s crucial to watch your speed, slow down, and minimize the risk of putting yourself and others in danger.
Plan your routes
Know the surface types and how to maneuver on them. Different surfaces require different speeds and levels of attention. Changing between smooth and rough terrain will require you to transition carefully and ensure you adjust your speed as necessary. For example, did you know that some surfaces are easier to turn on than others? Going indoors after being outside could mean your tires will still be wet, and you’ll need to be sure to transition to the indoors carefully and pay attention to the level of control of the truck.
The key things to remember while operating in the rain are: pay attention, limit distractions, and drive cautiously. If you have questions about extra safety features available for forklifts, reach out and our team will be happy to assist you!