For any company with forklifts in operation, it is imperative that pedestrian safety be a top concern when foot traffic is in the same area as the forklifts.
To understand the precautions required by businesses to keep pedestrians safe, it is first useful to understand the hazards that pedestrians and forklift operators face when they are in the same work environment.
Inattention. Pedestrians and forklift operators alike, may become so focused on their work that they aren't paying close attention to their surroundings. The forklift operator may think the pedestrians are keeping an eye out for heavy equipment and the pedestrians may think the forklift operators are expertly trained to avoid such distractions.
Electric Forklifts are Quiet. Electric forklifts are not loud when they are in operation, so if pedestrians are used to being alerted to the loud noises of forklifts working in the area, they may be surprised if they haven't been trained on how to stay safe around electric forklifts.
Turning Radius. Different forklifts have different turning radius' and inexperienced workers may not be aware of how far away they should stand when a forklift is in operation in the work area. This becomes even more dangerous when the forklift is carrying heavy loads.
Whether you have older forklifts that have been in operation for years, or you have recently acquired a new forklift from a reputable forklift dealer, it is important that all forklift operators and pedestrians, that will find themselves in the same work area, be trained on the best ways to keep everyone safe. Every worker should fully understand the safety rules of the job site or work area.
Restrict Movement. Pedestrians should have designated working/walking areas that are clearly marked as a safe zone from heavy equipment. Forklift operators should know how to safely operate outside of these zones.
Warning Systems. All forklifts should be equipped with alarms that alert pedestrians that the forklift is in operation in the area where they are working. Never disengage warning systems on forklifts. Safety signs can also play a role in alerting pedestrians about PPE requirements and forklift operation zones they should be aware of in their work area.
Training. All workers must have the proper safety training completed for their job duties. Hosting weekly safety meetings is a great way to reinforce good safety habits.