Getting certified as forklift driver is not the end of the story. Let us face it, there are still bunch of drivers who set aside forklift pedestrian safety for the sake of attaining work quota and accomplishing shift assignment. Have you supplied necessary information about pedestrian safety at the workplace for both drivers and staff? If not, then, this is the time you give such awareness. Both employer and workers have to make it work.
To give you an idea of the accident statistics how many people are either killed or seriously injured by forklifts, there are around 36 pedestrians being killed every year, 20 of those are struck and 16 of them are crushed by forklifts. These numbers are alarming!
Inevitably, people come into close proximity with these vehicles during their work course everyday. Employer must provide basic actions to make them safer working with forklifts and to ensure that employees can come home to their families with their limbs still intact.
I would like to invite your attention of this pedestrian accident and make a good lesson for yourself.
Accidents Involving Pedestrians Can Be Avoided
The frequency of accidents involving pedestrians can be drastically reduced with good traffic management in combination with participation of all people in the warehouse.
- Traffic management can start by assigning a traffic controller. This might be more applicable in busy environment, but if your workplace is infested by such accident, then this is the time to install a traffic controller in places where you specified more appropriate.
- Provision of the safety vest and other safety gears. Provide the workers with reflective or luminous vests for better visibility. Those are working directly to such powered industrial trucks should wear hard hats, hard hats not only prevent workers from falling objects, this also makes them taller and more visible for the forklift drivers seated operating the machine.
- Provision of forklift accessories. Horns, warning lights, reverse alarm should be fitted with the forklifts for better pedestrian safety especially when manufacturer of the truck advise it so. Curved mirrors can be installed for better view of the surrounding in intersections.
- Give strong emphasis to pedestrian safety during forklift training course. Trainer must spend more time to give highlight about the importance of pedestrian safety at the workplace. Pedestrian and forklifts don’t mix, but getting around forklifts is inevitable, appropriate safety awareness must be given.
- Designation of walkways for pedestrians. Separate the path of foot traffic and forklift route. Employer can install steel barrier.
- Limit pedestrians from entering places where forklift trucks are operating. In busy time, workplace could be full of staff and merchandise, all are working together to finish the work at hand. During operation full swing, safety officer can prioritize work in a place before other work can be commenced and restrict people from entering the areas, thus, it will improve pedestrian safety.
- Impose speed limit and heavily penalize violators. There are still drivers despite of the training they receive don’t follow speed limit. With the combination of high speed and great mass of the forklifts, accident is fatal most of the time. Hence, to refrain operators from driving in high speed, a more severe penalty should be impose.
- Pedestrians must let the forklift operators know they are working in the same location. Good communication and coordination with other workers in the area can improve safety. Pedestrians who are entering the area can coordinate with the supervisor to advise their forklift operators that other people are also working in the same location.
- Be alert and attentive. Keep your senses up and sensitive at all times. Don’t wear ear protection when the decibels are tolerable. Never listen to music while working. Keep an eye of the approaching forklifts and anticipate its route, especially when it is full of load, and the operator’s view is obstructed, you wouldn’t want to be struck.
- Wear reflective safety vest as provided by the employer.
- Attend safety training for pedestrian provided by the employer. Training is not only for forklift operators, but for all workers in the organization.
- You must be aware of the rear swing of the truck when it is unavoidable to work near forklifts. Do not walk under the raised forks of the truck.
For Forklift Drivers:
- Forklift drivers should be more watchful near blind corners and narrow aisles while working. Sound the horns while traveling in these corners, and be wary in narrow aisles.
- Sound the horns when approaching an intersection. It will make people aware that you are approaching hinting them to stop and look around for the impending danger.
- Keep safe distance. If forklift is being driven in the same location where you are, always keep a good working distance.