Safe Operating Procedures: Industrial Forklifts
Forklifts, which are also called powered trucks, are necessary in today’s world. Without forklifts, commerce would grind to a halt, and we would be moving products by hand, like people did for thousands of years. That said, approximately 85 people are killed and 95,000 injured in forklift accidents each year in the United States. To put those numbers in perspective, most modern sports stadiums don’t hold 95,000 people.
For safe forklift operations, it is important for two sets of people to work together: the forklift operator and any pedestrians or bystanders. Pedestrians fall into two categories: those who are educated on the dangers of forklift operation and those who are not. Pedestrians working in high forklift traffic facilities must be educated on the dangers of working around forklifts. The average person likely does not know the dangers and requires even greater protection.
Some basic rules for forklift operators:
- Look in the direction of travel.
- Yield to pedestrians.
- Slow down when pedestrians are nearby and use extra caution.
- Drive at a speed where you are in full control of the forklift and allow for safe stopping distances.
- Fully inspect your forklift before using it each and every shift.
- Remove unsafe forklifts from use.
- Slow down or stop and sound your horn at intersections or blind spots
Stay focused on your driving; don’t allow things or people to distract you.
Suggestions for pedestrians:
- Stay aware of your surroundings; look and listen carefully.
Use extra caution when in high forklift traffic areas.
- Make eye contact with nearby forklift operators.
With knowledge of safe procedures and their combined vigilance, forklift operators and pedestrians can work together to make high forklift traffic areas safe for everyone.
Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., has successfully represented clients injured by unsafe forklift operation.