Forklifts and Pedestrian SafetyIt’s common knowledge that forklift drivers must be trained on each piece of equipment they operate, but what about other workers in the warehouse or yard? While there aren’t any OSHA requirements for pedestrian training,  OSHA’s General Duty Clause says employers take measures to protect employees from recognized risks. 

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nearly 20 percent of forklift accidents involve a pedestrian. So, roughly 19,000 people per year, an average of 1 in 10 forklifts is involved in an incident each year.

Here’s How to Beat the Odds:       

Safety for pedestrians who work around powered industrial trucks is often overlooked when it comes to operator training, and it shouldn’t be.

What can employers do to help protect pedestrians around lift trucks?

  • Provide specific safety training to all pedestrians working near lift trucks
  • Mark aisle ways and install signs for equipment and pedestrian traffic.
  • Keep aisles free from obstructions, including hand trucks, carts, and pallets.
  • Install and instruct operators on properly using convex mirrors
  • Ensure that only trained and authorized operators operate a lift truck. Certify all lift truck operators are trained in accordance with OSHA 1910.178(l)
  • Educate workers about the hazards related to cell phone usage while operating lift trucks. Develop a policy for the use of wireless devices in the workplace.
  • Reduce or eliminate pedestrian traffic in areas where powered industrial trucks are used.

What can lift truck operators do to protect Pedestrians.Forklifts and Pedestrian Safety

  • Slow down, stop and sound your horn at all blind intersection and cross aisles.
  • Make sure you have a clear view of travel in all directions before moving the truck, and use a spotter for ramps and blind spots.
  • Use all available waning devices such as lights, (head lights and rotating strobe lights,) and back up alarms 
  • Don’t talk or text on a cell phone while driving.
  • Stop and make eye contact with pedestrians when pedestrians are in your path.
  • Lower the forks to the ground and set the emergency brake every time you get off the lift.
  • Never give a pedestrian a ride, and never elevate a pedestrian on the forks, even if they are in a safety cage.

How can pedestrians protect themselves?

  • Never stand in front of a bench or fixed object when a lift truck is approaching
  • Stop and look both ways before crossing intersections.
  • Never walk or stand under elevated forks or loads.
  • Never ask for a ride on a forklift, they are only designed for one person.
  • Never reach into the mast of a lift truck.
  • Always stay to the right while walking in pedestrian walk ways or aisles.
  • Be aware of the rear end steering and “tail swing” of powered industrial trucks.

Forklifts and Pedestrian Safety

These are just some of the things employers, operators and pedestrians can do to help ensure a safe work place for pedestrians. However, additional pedestrian training should be done utilizing the “Danger Zone” pedestrian safety DVD kit, shown below. The Danger Zone DVD training kit was designed specifically for pedestrians. For additional information about the Danger Zone pedestrian safety kit, or any of the operator training and train the trainer training classes offered by Total Industries, please contact us.

Further Reading: