Working around forklifts

What you should know before working around forklifts

Forklift operators are well-trained in safety procedures before being certified to work. But companies are sometimes not as diligent in regard to the training of other employees who will end up working around forklifts. And even with the proper training, accidents can still occur. According to Eric Ramos Law, “forklifts are the cause of 96,785 injuries to workers each year. Over one-third of these injuries are classified as serious. This means that approximately one in ten forklifts will be involved in an accident that causes injury to either the operator or another worker.” Individuals searching for work at warehouses and other places that depend on forklifts should take the time to educate themselves on some safety procedures that will keep them from getting injured.

Locate the forklift

The first rule for pedestrians working around forklifts is to know where the forklift is located at all times. The range of vision for forklift operators can vary depending on the vehicle, which means it is essential for other workers at the location to not depend on the forklift operator to see them. Workers should also be attentive to forklift horns. Forklift operators will blow their horns when approaching an intersection, another forklift or a blind spot. Many forklifts are also fitted with backup alarms to indicate when the forklift operator is moving in reverse.


Walking close to a forklift

Workers should avoid all distractions when walking near a forklift that is in operation, such as talking to coworkers or reading paperwork while they walk. Additionally, a worker should come to a complete stop and look both ways before attempting to enter a lane that is designated for forklift travel. This safety precaution should also be used when approaching a blind spot or crossing an intersection used by forklift operators.

Approaching a forklift

It will be necessary at times for workers to approach a forklift to speak with the driver. Safety and Health emphasises, “do not approach the forklift until certain the driver has been alerted to your presence. A worker should then wait for the forklift to come to a complete stop and the operator to give a sign to approach.” When making the approach toward the forklift, workers should make sure their feet are away from the forklift. Workers should also walk away from the forklift before the operator resumes motion.

The safety precautions needed by workers to remain safe around forklifts are not complicated. These precautions are extremely important, however. Forklift operators are well-versed in safety operations and will do all they can to keep workers safe. However, workers must think proactively and seek to protect themselves as well. The worker who becomes familiar with the precautions discussed above will have a greater chance to remain safe on the job.

What advice would you give to people working around forklifts? Let us know in the comments below.

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