Forklift Safety in Rainy Weather

April showers bring May flowers, or something like that, right? Some days can still be a bit chilly, but spring is here. The weather is finally starting to warm up, and you don’t have to worry about managing your fleet in icy conditions, for the most part. Rain, however, is something we have to consider regardless of temperature. Forklift safety should never take the back seat and each season poses a different challenge for vigilance in the material handling equipment realm. With National Forklift Safety Day coming up soon, safety topics surrounding the material handling community are in full swing, so let’s take a look at several points to consider when operating your forklift in rainy weather.

Forklift Operation in the Rain

We talk about some safety protocols before operating a forklift in several past blog posts. Distractions in a warehouse has been one of our more recent topics, but nowhere have we mentioned driving this equipment in the rain. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Always check weather conditions before heading outdoors.
  • Keep focused. Distractions have no business around material handling equipment, especially in the rain.
  • Drive slowly. If you need to travel at a slower speed in a car while driving in inclement weather, it’s even more important to take precautions with a forklift.

Rain Appropriate Gear

Cold, wet and just downright uncomfortable? Stop feeling so sorry for yourself! Alright, we’re starting to sound like your mother over here, but think about it. If you’re not wearing the appropriate gear, safety of a load is probably the last thing on your mind. Ventilated rain gear should be worn if operating in wet conditions for long periods of time. Overall, just make sure that your rain gear fits properly. Boots should be equipped with treads to prevents falls and gloves should fit, well, like a glove! A non-slip grip should be top priority. Our friends over at Safety and Health Magazine have a great article on the right kind of rain gear for a worksite.

Visibility in Rainy Conditions

Even if it’s not raining, visibility should be at the top of your list. If you find it hard to see or concentrate when driving a car in inclement weather, what do you think it’s like trying to maneuver a forklift? Like we mentioned in our blog post about distractions in the warehouse, “the brakes aren’t as efficient and the machine is less maneuverable than a vehicle.” Take the time to research, invest in a quality forklift cover and ditch the homemade rain shield.  

Remember, with any type of material handling, safety always comes first. What tips do you have for operating equipment in inclement weather? We’d love to hear. Be sure to connect with us on our social networks and let’s carry on the continuing discussion of safety in the workplace.