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Ways to Avoid Forklift Truck Accidents

Ways to Avoid Forklift Truck Accidents

Whilst there have been significant improvements made in forklift safety over the last two decades, more still needs to be done. Over 1300 people last year were injured as a result of forklift accidents and, worryingly, this is an increase on previous years. So what is the best way to avoid a forklift accident? Is it training, installing safety barriers, or is it a forklift warning system? It all depends on your site but it could be a combination of all three.

Pedestrian workers often work in close proximity to forklift trucks. They are the ones most at risk. When a heavy forklift truck hits a person, there is only one outcome. Warehouses and factories are perfect examples where human and machine work side by side day to day. And many of the dangers are there to see and clearly understood just by spending the afternoon visiting site.

First and foremost, the most important factor in preventing an accident is adequate training. And it’s not just the driver who should be fully trained on how to drive a forklift. Influencing attitudes and behaviours throughout the entire workforce is vital in educating both the unaware and existing forklift truck operators. Everyone on site must be aware of the risk of accidents and also of becoming complacent.

Every work site is different. Different layout means different dangers. Narrow aisles, crowded areas and blind spots are all part of the perils that can cause an accident. Understanding the layout of your work site will help you understand areas of risk within the workplace. And separating pedestrians from forklift truck traffic, creating walkways and fitting safety barriers could be an ideal solution. However, in reality, this cannot always be done because of the layout of the work site and the costs it would incur to redesign or rebuild.

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 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.

For more information about ZoneSafe Proximity Warning Systems and how they can help reduce the risk of work site accidents between vehicle and pedestrians click here. For more information on ways to reduce forklift truck accidents, take a look at the list below.

Tips on how accidents between forklift trucks and pedestrians can be reduced or avoided?

  • Separate the pedestrian and forklift traffic by creating designated walkways or travel ways.
  • Keep a safe distance from the forklift whenever possible.
  • Pedestrians should always let the driver know they are in the area. Make eye contact with the driver to ensure your presence is known.
  • Ensure the area is well lit and there are no obstructions.
  • Be cautious near blind corners, doorways, and narrow aisles. Sound the forklift horn at intersections.
  • Use high-visibility clothing, where appropriate.
  • Limit forklift travel speed.
  • Do not walk near or under raised forks.
  • Do not load the forklift in a way that restricts the driver’s viewing area.
  • Avoid driving forklift near areas where pedestrian traffic is high (e.g., lunch rooms, time clocks, entrances/exits).
  • Install a proximity warning system to reduce risk and avoid accidents between pedestrians and vehicles – alerting drivers and pedestrians
  • Restrict people from entering areas where the forklift is operating using access control.
  • Isolate high risk areas using an Asset Protection System.

For further information on forklift truck safety and advice, visit workplacesafetyadvice.co.uk. For more information on workplace transport and site layout, visit hse.gov.uk/workplacesafety/sitelayout.

 

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