Forklift accidents account for approximately 85 deaths, 34,900 serious injuries, and 61,800 non-serious injuries each year in the United States, according to the government.
While OSHA requires employers to train their forklift drivers thoroughly, the training of employees who work around forklifts is sometimes overlooked.
Let’s take a look at some safety tips for those who work near forklift traffic:
- Use dedicated walkways – We recommend that all warehouse areas where forklift traffic is present have a dedicated walkway. Employees should know where these pathways are and use them.
- Look and listen for oncoming traffic, especially at intersections – Forklift drivers should be trained to honk their truck’s horn when crossing intersections. Listen for these sounds. Use mirrors to check for forklifts coming around corners.
- Make eye contact with drivers – Forklifts, like any other vehicle, have blind spots. Make eye contact with the lift operator and acknowledging each other’s presence with a wave or hand gesture.
- Realize that forklifts need ample time to come to a complete stop – By design, forklifts cannot “stop on a dime.”
- Stand clear of forklifts in operation – Generally, the forklift operator’s priority is to keep the product he or she is transporting from being damaged. The driver may be more focused on maintaining the load than watching for bystanders.
In short, always be aware of your surroundings and look out for forklift traffic to stay safe.
I thought it was interesting what you said about even though those that are in charge of driving forklifts are trained thoroughly, often the training of those around them can be neglected. I can imagine that that could be a very stressful situation to be in as a manager of a warehouse if you had a bunch of people that didn’t know how to act around a forklift.
Thanks for pointing out that it can be smart to make eye-contact with forklift drivers to help make sure that they see you and that you can help keep everyone safer. I think that if you were in a job that required forklifts it would be smart to make sure that everybody there knew the rules and knew how to be safe around them. It would also probably be smart to make sure that the forklift you were using was from a reputable company that you could trust and so would work the way it was supposed too.
It makes sense that you should make sure to use hand gestures in order to confirm that a forklift operator can clearly see you. My brother is planning on opening a self-storage facility and needs to find a safe way to stack empty storage units on top of each other. Maybe he should learn how to stay safe when operating a forklift before he rents one.