We’ve now spent over a year being told to “keep a safe distance”, a phrase that will still be heard time and time again in the forklifting industry long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. That’s because nearly 75% of ‘impact with a third person’ events involve pedestrians that were completing tasks unrelated to the immediate truck operation at the time of their accident.
Segregating your operating areas is of course best practice, but how do we keep forklifts and pedestrians apart in tricky spaces that can’t be physically segregated?
Carry Out A Risk Assessment
First up is carrying out a risk assessment of your workspace. Which areas pose a danger? Will anyone need to be trained? Do you need new signage? Take your time and use a safe site checklist to ensure every possible risk is addressed and resolved accordingly.
Install Designated Walkways
You can’t expect your staff to stick to your new guidelines if they aren’t 100% sure which way to go when forklifts are being operated. You should use signage and painted lines to mark pedestrian routes and crossings need to be clearly signposted too.
If you have the room to do so, assign separate areas for forklift parking and maintenance so that engineers can avoid being in the path of moving vehicles.
Modify Or Replace Your Trucks
Some of your lift trucks might only require new lights or add-on features such as proximity sensors, but it’s worth considering more modern forklifts to maximise pedestrian safety. Their technology includes anti-collision systems, blue lights that alert pedestrians, and safety zone lights that are projected around the forklift to create an exclusion zone.
Train And Inform Your Staff
Even if an individual rarely has anything to do with forklift operation, it’s vital that you gather all of your workforce and inform them of your new safety measures to avoid any life-threatening accidents. Take them through any updated training on keeping a safe distance between forklifts and pedestrians, ensuring each person is fully aware of your new regulations before operating a machine. This will allow forklift drivers to confidently perform their daily duties and pedestrians to interact with operators in the safest manner.
Measures To Consider
Assessing the level of safety when it comes to keeping forklifts and pedestrians apart is a really important task you should be prioritising. Here’s some measures to consider:
Traffic management – such as one-way systems to reduce the risk of collisions.
Site inductions – talking visitors through site layout, safety procedures, and designated routes.
Timetables – rotation between staff to ensure forklift and pedestrian tasks aren’t being carried out at the same time in one area.
Strong communication systems – allowing you to give clear and succinct instructions to all members of staff, alerting them when another individual is in their workspace.
Clear signage – so that there is no confusion as to where pedestrians can carry out their tasks.
Safe working conditions – establish safe operating distances and provide staff with guidance around forklift operation and the loading and unloading of materials.
If you’d like more advice around keeping a safe distance between forklifts and pedestrians, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here. We can also provide a free site survey to help identify which lift trucks would be most suitable for your business requirements.