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Five warehouse forklift safety tips for pedestrians and operators

National Forklift Safety Day

national forklift safety dayEach year in the United States, there are about 68,400 forklift accidents. This is a number that could be reduced with proper training and awareness. As part of its commitment to safety, the Industrial Truck Association sponsored National Forklift Safety Day on June 9 2015.

Anyone who has worked in the warehouse industry knows that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all forklift drivers be trained on each piece of equipment he or she will be operating. However, it’s easy for warehouse managers to not realize the importance of training pedestrians to coexist in a warehouse in which lift trucks are being operated. It’s also essential for forklift drivers to learn about pedestrian safety in the warehouse.

The workplace is a more efficient and productive environment when pedestrians and forklift operators are both trained on pedestrian safety, and when pedestrians take note of warehouse signage. When employees are educated, the number of forklift accidents can be reduced.

Five forklift safety tips for pedestrians

In honor of National Forklift Safety Day, here are the top five pedestrian safety tips to follow when working with forklifts:

  1. Use dedicated pedestrian walkways:
    Pedestrian walkways are similar to sidewalks and crosswalks found on our streets and roads.
  2. Stop, look and listen for oncoming traffic:
    Forklift operators are trained to honk the lift truck’s horn when crossing an intersection, when going around corners, and whenever their vision might be obstructed. Be aware of these sounds.
  3. Make eye contact with drivers:
    Just like everyday vehicle, forklifts have blind spots. When you make eye contact with drivers, this ensures that the operator is aware of your presence.
  4. Know that a truck needs adequate time to stop:
    Forklifts are very heavy pieces of equipment that are designed to carry heavy loads. Likewise, lift trucks are not designed to stop suddenly. Rather, they are designed to minimize the damage to the load and to maintain stability.
  5. Stand clear of lift trucks in operation:
    One of the forklift operator’s jobs is to keep the product from being damaged. Therefore, the operator might be focused on the pallet load and not aware of a person standing around the lift truck.

Five forklift safety tips for forklift operators

It is important that forklift drivers are also aware of pedestrians in the warehouse. Following are the top five safety tips for lift truck operators to follow:

  1. Give pedestrians the right-of-way:
    Always stop when pedestrians walk across your planned route. Wait until the person or people have passed by and continue cautiously through any congested area.
  2. Never drive close to anyone:
    If there is not enough space to travel, warn pedestrians and ask them to move.
  3. Look in the direction of travel:
    If there is not a clear view, do not move the lift truck.
  4. Stop and sound the horn when approaching an intersection, crosswalk or exiting an aisle:
    Warn pedestrians and other forklift operators that a forklift is coming.
  5. Approach and leave aisles slowly:
    Drive cautiously and use alarms when entering and exiting warehouse aisles.

When forklift operators and pedestrians work in tandem in the warehouse, it will help to keep everyone safe. It is important that both groups know and follow the rules. It’s also important for warehouse managers to enforce those rules.

Get your free forklift safety tips poster

If you are interested in downloading the free poster displaying these five tips for pedestrians and operators, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in training your employees on pedestrian safety, CLICK HERE to purchase it online at MaterialsHandlingStore.com.

For questions and comments on National Forklift Safety Day email us at or call us at 800-675-2500.

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