Rainy skies and wet ground surfaces can increase the daily challenges faced by forklift operators working in indoor-outdoor settings. Some of the potential hazards are obvious. For example, sudden braking at high speed can be more difficult on slick pavement. But a few may be harder to recognize until it’s too late. Experience can be a great teacher, but also a painful and expensive one. So instead of letting experience do the work of training your employees and forklift operators, give them a heads-up to some of the hazards that may catch them by surprise. Include these issues in your training program if you haven’t already. Wet conditions can mean:
Windshield views can become compromised by falling rain, and even if strong and well-maintained wipers keep this hazard at bay, consider a few others: Skies are darker and many outdoor worksites rely on natural light to provide adequate visibility. Transitions are more difficult, visually, across indoor-outdoor thresholds. And signals that indicate changes in speed or direction can be harder for pedestrians and fellow lift truck operators to see, which can increase the potential for collisions. Train your operators to anticipate these problems.
Compromised reflexes and judgment
Operators who are wet, cold, or otherwise uncomfortable may be inclined to make poor decisions when faced with a moment that requires quick thinking. Make sure your operators are adequately dressed and protected from the weather.
Special rules and provisions for traveling on inclines
Proper training, including practice in controlled circumstances, can help your employees navigate inclines while carrying heavy loads. Make sure practice and training include both moving and parking on inclined wet surfaces.
Sudden changes in floor integrity
High-speed travel over a threshold from wet floors to dry or vice versa can mean a loss of control for inexperienced operators. This challenge increases when floors are both wet and icy. Train operators to slow down and increase their situational awareness during inclement weather, even if they’re moving from one indoor location to another. Bad conditions outside can mean unexpected wet patches and puddles inside.
Challenges to equipment maintenance
Make sure your teams know how to manage and maintain battery life and propane tanks in wet weather. Trucks should also be kept clean, and tires should be inspected periodically for accumulating wear and tear.