Logistics & Materials Handling Blog

Forklift Safety Precautions for Operating in the Rain

by Paul Hinz
Filed under: Safety

With increasing occurrences of wild and unpredictable weather resulting in heavy downpours of rain this week’s blog looks at important precautions and considerations to operate a forklift during wet weather.

Can my forklift operate in the rain?
The most important precaution that can be taken to prevent a forklift sustaining damage or becoming inoperable due to rain is to find out if the unit is manufactured to operate in wet weather.

As a general rule combustion forklifts powered by diesel or LPG are safe to operate in wet weather, however most battery electric forklifts in general cannot be operated in the rain due to the potential volatile mix of electricity and water.

Operating a battery electric forklift in the rain comes with a high chance of electrocution for the operator that could result in severe injury or fatality.

Check Outdoor Conditions
Being aware of the outdoor conditions that the forklift is to be operating in is paramount for operators.

During periods of heavy rain factors such as visibility and speed should be at the forefront of operator’s minds when working.

With heavy rain visibility drops considerably so before beginning any operations, operators should double check that all safety lights are working.

If any lights do not light up the bulbs must be replaced before operations can begin.

Safety lights not only allow operators to see in front of them whilst working in the rain but it also allows pedestrians to see approaching forklifts out of the rain.

In addition to ensuring a forklift is lit correctly so it is visible during periods of rain, operators also need to drive to the conditions.

Rain leads to wet surfaces where a forklift is more likely to lose traction and may skid leading to overturns or crashes into property or people.

Operators need to drive slower than normal meaning movements may take slightly longer but are carried out safely.

Ensure Forklifts are Equipped with Rain Protection
For combustion forklifts that are able to operate outside during periods of rain it is important to ensure the unit is fitted with the correct rain protection for operators.

PVC rain protectors that cover the unit’s cabin can be installed on all Hyster and Yale forklifts.

The protectors can be closed when raining or rolled up out of the way when the weather is fine.

Forklift PVC Rain Protection

Ensure all Operators and Staff Wear Correct Rain Protection
In addition to install rain protection to forklift cabins, it is imperative to supply all operators and all staff wear personal rain protection made up of all or a combination of high visibility rain jackets and pants.

As well as providing important protection from getting wet, high visibility rain protection provides greater employee visibility to forklift operators during heavy rain.

Forklift operator rain jacket 3

To discuss how Adaptalift can assist in weatherproofing your materials handling fleet contact our team on 13 22 54 or email us for further information.