We often hear about accidents in the workplace when company machinery and personnel collide. An article published by the Forklift truck association stated that: ‘Every year, more than 800 people are seriously injured – or worse in incidents involving forklift trucks.’
This is a figure based on forklift truck accidents alone. If we considered all the industries in which vehicles and personnel are working together – we have some very scary statistics.
How can we stop this from happening?
Take Forklifts as an example – they are essential for a modern warehouse. Although the forklift is very important to the warehouse, it can also be the number one hazard. A simple search of ‘forklift accident’ on YouTube and you will see why safety is so important. Various equipment and racks that we presume to be indestructible can crumble into pieces when it comes into contact with a heavy forklift. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent and avoid such accidents from ever happening.
1. Floor Marking: You can mark out areas of your company warehouse to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way and ensure vehicles stay on the right side of the path.
2. Bright Clothing: Chances are you already use hi-visibility vests and hard hats where required, but the next time you order uniform or PPE, be sure to go for the brightest colour options, rather than standard. This will help to ensure staff can always be seen.
3. Clear aisles: Clutter and waste in aisles presents a whole host of hazards! From fire risks caused by the loose materials, to trip and slip hazards and distractions for drivers which could lead to collisions. Keeping your aisles clear and clean is one of the most effective things you can do to uphold good health and safety, it’s also quick and easy to do with a little cooperation from co-workers and good guidance from managers.
4. Safety Signs: Safety signs are a legal requirement in most warehouses. It’s important to display as much information as possible to alert workers to possible dangers and which precautionary steps to take to avoid them. Signage should be placed wherever there’s a risk, but be careful not to overdo it – too many signs could mean the most important messages are easily missed and could even cause a distraction to drivers.
5. Lighting: Ensuring you use quality lighting will ensure all areas are properly illuminated so your workers can clearly see each other and avoid potential risks.
6. Guardrails: If you position guardrails on ramps, and corners, they will slow down your vehicle operatives forcing them to concentrate on corners or areas where manoeuvring space is tight. They can also provide added protection for pedestrians as drivers won’t be able cut corners or drift into pedestrian zones.
7. Team meetings: One thing that is unlikely to be a requirement is regular company team meetings, but it can be one of the best ways to effectively communicate any new risks or changes to your safe system of work. By regularly reminding your workers to stay safe you will be fulfilling your duty to make everyone aware, and keeping health and safety at the forefront of your operations by reinforcing the message every week or so.
So is there another way besides training and improving worksite layout?
Can accidents between forklift trucks and pedestrian workers be reduced further or avoided altogether? More and more companies are now looking at technology as the answer and using forklift warning systems.
ZoneSafe uses technology to help reduce the risk of accidents between company vehicles and pedestrians. Using RFID (radio frequency identification), the proximity warning and alert systems make forklift drivers aware of pedestrian workers and vice versa.
This type of forklift warning system has already proved to be successful worldwide, however, the problem was that it was often too expensive and only large companies with large budgets could afford it. Not anymore. With increased development of RFID, the price of systems using this technology is now much more affordable than you think – and ZoneSafe at Avonwood Developments are the leaders in Proximity Warning Systems