Every year hundreds of people are seriously injured or even killed while working or standing in the vicinity of forklifts.
Even while travelling at very slow speeds, forklifts can potentially crush and severely injure pedestrians, tip over or lose its load.
Forklift safety is very important and Workers can protect themselves when they are working near forklifts by using their senses and common sense.
Pedestrians must learn to listen and look for warning signs that indicate a forklift is nearby so they can take steps to avoid the forklift. They should:
- Listen for the sound of forklift horns. Forklift operators should sound the horn when approaching intersections, corners, blind spots, other forklifts, and areas with pedestrians.
- Listen for the sound of backup alarms. Most forklifts have a backup alarm that sounds whenever the forklift is moving in reverse.
- Listen for the sounds of the forklift engine. The engines of combustion forklifts will be louder when the forklift is traveling or when the forklift is raising a load. However, because electric forklifts are usually very quiet, listening for engine noise from them will not help.
- Look for flashing lights,
Walking Safely near Forklifts
In order to maintain an awareness of where forklifts are, workers should:
- Avoid distractions when walking out where there is forklift traffic, including reading paperwork or talking with other pedestrians.
- Stop and look both ways before entering a forklift lane, crossing an aisle, walking up to a blind corner, or walking across an intersection where forklifts travel.
- Walk single file along the side of an aisle that has forklift traffic, or keep to designated walking aisles.
- DO NOT RUN IN FRONT OF FORKLIFTS
Approaching a Forklift Driver
If a pedestrian needs to approach a forklift driver to discuss something, he or she should:
- Stay back from the forklift until the driver sees him or her.
- Wait for the driver to stop the forklift.
- Approach the forklift after the driver motions him or her over.
When approaching the forklift, workers should be careful to:
- Keep their feet away from the forklift.
- Walk away before the driver moves the forklift, rather than standing next to the forklift and waiting for the driver to pull away.
- Keep your distance Fully loaded, a standard forklift and its load can have a combined weight of five or more tonnes. If you work near forklifts, you are equally at risk from being killed or seriously injured through being hit or crushed by the forklift itself, or being hit or crushed by the load the forklift is moving.
You are most at risk of being hit by a forklift or its load if you are:
• walking alongside it
• picking stock off a nearby shelf
• walking in between it and a delivery vehicle
• stepping in to its path,
• assisting with loading/unloading
• Be aware that a forklift operators field of vision is obscured by the mast and load – don’t assume they have seen you.
- Comply with the operating instructions.
- Use the forklift truck only for the purpose for which it was designed.
- Carry out a daily safety inspection of the forklift before you operate the forklift.
- Remain seated while the forklift is moving and do not lean outside of the unit.
- Slow down when travelling close to obstacles, other vehicles, or pedestrians.
- Maintain a clear view ahead and behind (using a correctly adjusted rear view mirror) and give clear indication of your intentions.
- Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
- Use the horn at intersections and blind corners
- Follow speed limits and slow down
- Drive carefully on wet or slippery surfaces.
- Reduce speed when making a turn.
- Drive in reverse if vision is obscured by a bulky load.
- Slow down on sloping or uneven ground.
- Wear high visibility clothing.
- Do not carry passengers.
Forklift drivers have a duty of care and under the law are lawfully responsible for any accidents caused.
However this does not mean pedestrians have right of way. Pedestrians must follow our forklift safety rules!
Should anyone have any concerns in regards to a forklift driver or pedestrian please come and see us, all complaints will be held in a sensitive timely and confidential manner.
Remember safety is everyone’s responsibility