Electric Forklifts in the Rain

Electric Forklifts In The RainAfter talking to some industry experts, we decided to revise our original article about whether it’s okay to use an electric forklift in the rain. Here’s why:

Is It Safe to Use an Electric Forklift in the Rain?

When you search online for information about whether it’s safe to use an electric forklift in the rain, many articles tell you to check the IP rating. But this answer won’t get you very far. Have you ever tried to find the IP (international protection/ingress protection) code for your forklift?

Finding the IP rating for a forklift overall is basically impossible. Why? Because different forklift components have different IP ratings. There isn’t one IP rating for the entire forklift. This information comes directly from Toyota Forklift headquarters, by the way.

So….is it okay to operate an electric forklift in the rain? The short answer: it’s not a good idea, especially if you have an older electric lift truck. Will it breakdown? Will it shock the operator? Probably not...but do you want to risk “probably not”?

What Are IP Codes Anyhow?

IP codes are shorthand for how well a particular piece of equipment can withstand intrusion from dust, solid objects and liquid. The final digit of the IP code  tells you how water-resistant something is or isn’t (the scale goes from 0 to 8). For equipment operating in the rain, or similarly wet environment, you want the last digit to be four or higher.

Put another way, any equipment that is rated IPX4 or higher you can use in the rain or similarly wet environment. Something that is IPX0 can’t be exposed to water at all, and equipment that rated IPX8 could (in theory) be submerged in nine feet of water (don’t try this at home).

In theory, a forklift’s overall IP rating is equal to its lowest-rated component. But every lift is made up of hundreds of components - that vary from year to year, truck to truck.

Can I Buy a Waterproof Electric Forklift?

If you’re looking for a forklift that can work in the rain, LP gas is usually the way to go. That said, there are add-on packages that can give your electric forklift extra protection against the elements.

For example, electric forklifts are extremely popular for cold storage and freezer applications, but your average off-the-shelf electric forklift won’t last long in this type of application. You need a cold conditioning package with additional galvanization and sealed components to protect your forklift’s inner workings from condensation and harsh conditions. There’s also a fisherman's package designed for warm, humid environments.

 

Toyota’s 80-volt solid pneumatic electric forklift is one of the most...let’s say water-friendly electric forklifts. This rugged lift truck can lift up to 11,000 pounds and is designed to work outdoors. The electric pneumatic comes with maintenance-free, fully-sealed wet disc brakes and is designed to run 20 percent longer than its indoor counterparts.

Don’t Forget About Safety

In inclement weather or low-visibility conditions, protect your equipment and operators by ensuring your forklift’s lights and horn work properly. Review safety procedures with your staff prior to bad weather. Going slow is the key to preventing accidents, slips, trips and falls.

If you’re looking for a new or used electric forklift, we hope you’ll consider The Lilly Company. We’re an authorized forklift dealer for Toyota, Clark and Linde serving customers throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and eastern Arkansas and our experienced and friendly forklift experts can help you find the right forklift for your operational needs and budget. 

Contact The Lilly Company online or by phone 800-238-3006 with any questions you have about new or used forklifts. Or come say hello at one of our 13 locations across the mid-South.

Arkansas - Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Tupelo and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, and Memphis 

Further Reading
When to Buy an Electric Vs. LP Gas Forklift
Schedule OSHA Forklift Safety Training
View Our Current Forklift Specials 

OSHA-Approved Training - Protect Your Team and Prevent Expensive Incidents