The key to reducing forklift-related accidents is proper training on and off of the forklift. Anticipating pedestrian presence and movement, along with training pedestrians how to work safely in the presence of material handling equipment, are topics that every facility needs to address.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, close to 20% of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by a forklift, which equals approximately 19,000 people per year. That’s much too high of a statistic to ignore. OSHA approximates that 70% of forklift accidents can be avoided with proper implementation of training and follow through.
Common sense and good judgement are not enough without reinforced training and alertness. While each employee that works in a facility near material handling equipment should follow protocol, many pedestrians will automatically assume the forklift driver will see them. Even if the forklift operator sees a pedestrian, they may not have enough time to stop the machine, or may be forced to stop too promptly, causing potential damage to people or product.
Common reasons pedestrian forklift accidents occur:
- Operator and/or pedestrian complacency
- Equipment failure
- Pedestrian walkways aren’t properly outlined in the workplace
- Workplace noise and distractions
Is your facility safe?
Knowing how to prevent accidents before they happen is a defining factor of a safer warehouse and/or workspace. Many factors affect your facility’s safety ranking.
Consider the lighting throughout your facility. Are storage aisles properly lit? Are the forklifts properly equipped with the right lighting?
Noise is another concern to consider. Can pedestrians hear a forklift approaching or the forklift backup beeper? If there is too much ambient noise, your workers are at risk. Specify maximum noise levels when purchasing forklifts, and isolate equipment with acoustic screens or curtain walls to reduce sound.
Is your equipment safe?
Ensuring your forklifts are safe for operation is essential for driver and pedestrian safety. Safety checklists should be utilized before each shift or before each operation, depending on the machine in use. Faulty equipment can cause lifted loads to fall on pedestrians.
Are your workers trained for pedestrian safety?
Forklift and pedestrian safety are a collaborative effort. You can’t have one without the other. Make sure trainings are held for each new employees and as a refresher for seasoned employees. Enact a zero-tolerance policy for disregarding safety procedures.
The Forklift Pro is adamant about ensuring we hold up our end of the deal, especially when it comes to forklift safety. Our facility practices safety at every turn. You can rest assured that every piece of equipment in our inventory has been inspected and tested. Contact our Pros today with any questions you have about our inventory.