There are over 65,000 forklift related accidents in the United States annually, but there does not have to be. Proper training is essential for forklift operators. They not only need to know how to properly operate their machinery but they also need to be able to spot and avoid potentially hazardous situations. Forklift operators are not the only warehouse workers who need to know the ins and outs of being safe around forklifts. Any bystander in the vicinity of a forklift should be aware of the hazards associated with forklifts and be up to date on safety information involving forklifts. Here are five safety tips which all forklift operators should know and five safety tips all warehouse pedestrians should know.
Utilize Pedestrian Walkways. Warehouses should be fitted with designated pedestrian walkways, and pedestrians should be using them. This way they know for a fact that they are out of the way of all forklift traffic.
Be Aware of Oncoming Traffic. It is a forklift operator’s job to honk their horn when they are crossing over pedestrian walkways and whenever their vision might be obstructed. The pedestrian’s job is to be aware of the sounds and know to stay out of the way when they hear them.
Make Eye Contact with Forklift Driver. As previously stated, a forklift driver’s vision might be obstructed. Pedestrians should make at least a second of eye contact with the driver to ensure that the driver sees them before they pass. If a pedestrian does not make eye contact with the driver, it is not safe to assume that the driver sees them.
Know the Needs of the Truck. Forklifts need a certain amount of time to stop while maintaining stability of the heavy load. Pedestrians should not assume that a forklift can stop on a dime if they pass in front of it. They should always make sure that there are not forklifts in sight before they cross an aisle.
Stay Clear of Forklifts Being Operated. Forklift drivers may not be completely aware of the people around them while they are maneuvering a load. It is the pedestrian’s responsibility to stay away from forklifts in these situations.
Give Pedestrians Right of Way. Forklift operators should always stop for pedestrians. Operators should also keep a cautious eye out for pedestrians in a congested area, even if they are not crossing at the time.
Steer Clear of All Pedestrians. Operators should not drive close to pedestrians at any time. Driving too near to pedestrians is more likely to cause accidents even if the operator sees the person they are driving close to.
Look One Way. Operators should look in the direction they are traveling and not be looking around other ways. Pedestrians can come out of nowhere very quickly, and operators have to be aware of that.
Sound the Horn When Approaching Intersections. It is the operator’s responsibility to sound the horn at intersections to make the pedestrians aware of their approach.
Slowly Approach Aisles. Operators should approach aisles with caution when they enter or leave so pedestrians know where forklifts are operating.