Forklift operators have two critical jobs to account for in addition to their daily tasks: keeping themselves safe and ensuring pedestrian safety in their work environments. However, pedestrian safety might also be increased if non-operators take simple precautions when walking in areas of forklift use. Ultimately, it’s about developing a culture of communication and awareness that keeps everyone safer in any environment. Here are some ideas that you can explore to potentially make your work space safer.
Forklift Pedestrian Safety Tips
- Operators should yield the right of way to pedestrians: This is an OSHA recommendation that all forklift drivers should be aware of. Because of the size and power of the forklift, operators should stop and wait for pedestrians to clear the area before proceeding along their route with caution.
- Pedestrians should never assume that a forklift operator sees them: While pedestrians have the right of way in forklift operating areas, that doesn’t mean an operator will always see them. A pedestrian should keep his or her eyes on a moving forklift whenever in its vicinity.
- Operators and pedestrians should have a clear system of hand signals for communication: Developing a system of hand signals, such as a pedestrian always pointing in the direction they intend to walk in a facility or an operator using their hand to signal the direction of a turn, helps to increase communication and awareness. It’s important to make sure that this system of communication is known to all associates and visitors in order to avoid confusion.
- Optimize visibility for your unique environment: We can’t really tell you exactly how to optimize for high visibility. But we can tell you that doing an audit to figure out where blind spots are and where there are opportunities for improved visibility is important. Do you need mirrors on your forklifts or racking structures? Do you need some warehouse redesign to eliminate blind turns? Or maybe strobe lights and back up horns on all models to assist operators and pedestrians in communication? All of these are options for your facility’s unique needs.