Febuary 2018

Forklift Safety Rules: Three Measures for Protecting Pedestrians

Lifting and handling devices, especially forklifts, are essential pieces of equipment for transporting goods, both in factories and storage warehouses. But every year, the handling of such machines causes hundreds of accidents. Here are three measures to protect pedestrians by following the forklift safety rules.

Organize the Work Safely

Studies show that deficiencies in the organization of the work contribute to forklift accidents. Factory and warehouse managers must therefore make sure:

  • To provide a workplace layout that allows for sufficiently wide aisles
  • To keep aisles, intersections, and access doors clear
  • To have a traffic volume that correlates with the manoeuvring area
  • To separate the pedestrian traffic area and the forklift manoeuvring area
  • To prevent people from entering the forklift manoeuvring areas
  • To provide suitable training to forklift drivers
  • To not impose production constraints that cause speed and stress
  • To regularly inspect and maintain the loading platforms and equipment, and to replace them when necessary.

Take the Right Actions

Careful behaviour on the part of the driver also helps reduce the risk of forklift accidents. For example, they must make sure to:

  • Drive at a moderate speed
  • Use an appropriate technique when backing up
  • Turn, brake, and accelerate appropriately (driving neither abruptly nor acrobatically)
  • Warn other workers in the factory or warehouse when they are using a forklift near them
  • Communicate with the other team members in the event of shared tasks or areas
  • Never let a person ride as a passenger on the forklift or the load
  • Park appropriately
  • Block the wheels of the device when stopped

The pedestrian must also take all possible safety measures, especially:

  • Wearing high-visibility clothing
  • Maintaining a sufficient distance from the forklift
  • Making the driver aware of their position
  • Staying away from forklifts when the fork is raised and never going under the fork

Equip Yourself with a Smart Prevention System

There are prevention systems for preventing collisions between forklifts and pedestrians. Proxipi is a cutting-edge solution that can detect pedestrians in the handling area thanks to a badge worn by the pedestrian and an antenna attached to the forklift.

  • With the First solution, the system alerts the forklift driver and the pedestrian when the latter is within a 15-metre radius of the device. Each one can then take the appropriate steps to prevent the collision.
  • The Flex solution provides the detection of the pedestrian with bidirectional alerts. In addition, it triggers automatic interactions in the machine, such as the activation of speed reduction.

Every year in Quebec, there are hundreds of accidents involving forklifts, in the most serious cases resulting in the death of a worker. Only good work organization, appropriate training and behaviour, and a suitable prevention system can prevent accidents such as pedestrians getting crushed or trapped between the forklift and an object.