Vehicles used for transporting heavy loads and the people who operate them don’t always mix well, but with the right safety measure, they can work in harmony. In this issue’s Safety Spotlight, we’re outlining helpful tips to prevent pedestrian injury from forklifts or powered pallet jacks.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift-related incidents annually. Statistically, that means one of every ten forklifts in the US will be involved in an accident every year. [BLS, 2018]
10 SAFETY TIPS TO HELP PREVENT INJURY FROM A FORKLIFT OR POWERED PALLET JACK:
- Only operate a forklift or powered pallet jack if you have been trained and certified.
- Use seatbelts if they are available. Report any damage or problems that occur to a forklift during your shift.
- Keep at least six feet away from a forklift depositing a pallet until it has backed away or left the area.
- Never walk or stand under the elevated forks, with or without a load.
- If a forklift is coming toward you, move out of the way. A forklift typically weighs 1½ tons and cannot easily maneuver to avoid people or obstacles.
- Forklift drivers are required to slow down and honk their horn at aisles or other locations where visibility is obscured. If you hear a forklift horn, stop and wait for the forklift to pass, and then proceed slowly with caution.
- Report all blocked exits, aisles and/or emergency equipment to your supervisor.
- Always walk within pedestrian path painted lines and avoid the forklift aisles.
- Stay away from battery changing/charging or refueling stations unless you have been trained to safely maneuver these areas.
- Never transport people via a forklift, either in the cab or on the forklift itself. There are very specific rules for lifting people in a personnel platform mounted on a forklift.