10 forklift safety tips to keep your pedestrian workers alive and kicking

10 forklift safety tips to keep your pedestrian workers alive and kicking

Easy to follow forklift safety rules for all employers

A recent incident in which an eight-year old child was killed by a reversing forklift truck should be enough to remind every person or business that uses forklifts of the importance to never cut corners when it comes to forklift safety rules. The child was struck by the forklift on a farm, but it could easily have been a worker in a factory, distribution centre, builder’s yard, etc.

In this article, you’ll learn the forklift safety tips that will keep your pedestrian workers working in an injury-free environment.

What are the main causes of forklift accidents at work?

When a forklift and pedestrian clash, it is the pedestrian who comes off worst. Broken bones are likely, and death is a possibility. Most forklift accidents are caused by one or more of the following five factors:

  • A driver who is not concentrating
  • Obstructions that cause poor visibility, obscuring the driver’s view
  • A worker walking where they shouldn’t (e.g. in a pedestrian restricted zone)
  • A worker standing to close to a forklift when in operation
  • A worker riding on a forklift and falling off

All incidents caused by any of these factors are avoidable, providing your employees observe the forklift safety tips in this article.

Forklift safety tip #1: Separate pedestrians from forklifts

If you keep your pedestrians away from forklifts at al times, the risk of a forklift/pedestrian accident is eliminated. OF course, this isn’t always possible. It’s likely that your warehouse or other workplace will be manned by pedestrians as well as forklifts.

Forklift safety tip #2: Mark off no-go traffic routes for pedestrians

Where employees must work on foot in an environment in which forklifts are also used, you should have clearly marked traffic zones in which pedestrians are prohibited.

Forklift safety tip #3: Forklift traffic should travel in only a single direction

If possible, make your forklift route a one-way ring. By doing this, pedestrians will always know from which direction the danger may appear. It is imperative that your forklift operators stick to set traffic routes and directions.

Forklift safety tip #4: Make your pedestrians visible to forklift operators

Make the wearing of high-vis jackets a workplace rule. Also, ensure that other personal protective equipment is worn, such as hard hats and steel cap boots.

Forklift safety tip #5: Pedestrians should only walk where designated

Ensure that pedestrian workers stick to their designated paths, which should include designated crossings here forklifts are in operation.

Forklift safety tip #6: Forklift operators must travel in reverse if carrying large loads

If carrying a large load that restricts their forward vision, a forklift operator should travel in reverse. The only exception to this rule is where terrain dictates forward driving (e.g. up a ramp), in which case another forklift operator should act as a guide.

Forklift safety tip #7: Train visitors by providing forklift safety tips

Make all site visitors aware that forklifts are operating on site when visitors arrive, and run through the forklift safety tips that are applicable. Ensure that visitors are accompanies at all times as they walk round the workplace.

Forklift safety tip #8: Train your staff with forklift safety tips

Make forklift safety tips part of your induction ad ongoing training and ensure that your forklift safety rules are taken seriously. Take a breach of the rules seriously by enforcing disciplinary measures. Provide workplace training around forklifts, too, so that pedestrian workers appreciate how a forklift turns, restrictions on operator visibility, and rear-end swing.

Forklift safety tip #9: Ensure your operators drive forklifts safely

Forklift operators should give way to pedestrians, and operate cautiously at all times. Forklift safety tips for forklift operators include:

  • Signal to pedestrians to move, wait until they have, then proceed
  • Never wear ear protection or headphones to listen to music
  • Parked forklifts should have their forks lowered to floor level
  • Slow down when approaching pedestrian crossing points
  • Always follow the designated traffic route
  • Sound the horn when travelling in unsighted areas, such as through PVC strip curtains or around blind corners
  • If visibility is low, use headlights and warning lights

Forklift safety tip #10: Get your signage in order

Ensure that signage indicates that forklifts are in operation, and indicate speed limits, direction of travel, crossing points, etc. Place convex mirrors on corners to aid operator vision.

Are you forklift safety prepared?

It is everyone’s responsibility to follow forklift safety tips when working around forklifts, but it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that safety rules are shared, understood, and followed.

Make sure that you take precautions to minimise the potential for forklift accidents and eliminate risk wherever possible. This may mean reconfiguration of your warehouse or moving goods and storage to increase visibility. Make this job easier and improve your workplace health and safety compliance by contacting Sentry today.

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