Norton Seal Forklift operator talking to manager.

Loss Control & Risk Management

Forklift Operator and Pedestrian Safety

Putting safe practices into place at your business is a must to keep things running smoothly and to prevent losses from occurring. If you use a forklift in your day to day operations, you’ll want to be extra diligent about training your employees how to safely use them.

If not operated properly, a forklift can cause serious injury and property damage. To avoid these problems, it’s best to set up a safety effort that involves all forklift operators, as well as all employees who are pedestrians in the forklift operating area. Keep a safe workplace by following these guidelines recommended for forklift use.

Hire Only the Best Drivers

  • Require a candidate’s forklift driving experience to be listed on the job application.
  • Check all driving references.
  • Require a candidate to perform a hands-on forklift inspection and conduct an operation evaluation.
  • Ensure that the candidate possesses all the necessary visual, auditory, physical and mental abilities to operate a forklift.

Train Forklift Operators

Ensure forklift operators receive periodic training* on safe forklift inspection and operation techniques. Training topics could include hands-on demonstration and evaluation of the following forklift tasks:

  • Forklift safety inspection
  • Locating controls and instrumentation and their tasks.
  • Changing or charging fuel or power source.
  • Carrying load up or down an incline.
  • Safety operating rules or techniques.
  • Tiering of palleted loads.
  • Loading or unloading flatbeds and trailers.
  • Stacking or unstacking racks.
  • Steering and maneuvering.
  • Operating the truck in difference surface conditions.
  • Understanding the composition of loads carried, including vehicle capacity and load stability.
  • Operating in pedestrian traffic.
  • Being aware of other hazardous conditions unique to the workplace.

Inspect Your Forklifts

  • Daily inspections can detect many problems before they cause serious accidents.
  • Ask your forklift manufacturer to provide suggestions, schedules and inspection forms to assist in setting up a maintenance program for your particular type of forklift.
  • Consider installing seat belts, operating beacon caution lights and backup alarms to enhance safe forklift operation.

Pedestrian Safety Guidelines

Workers who are not forklift drivers also have a responsibility for safe forklift operation. Specifically, they can take the following actions to make forklift operation safer:

  • Whenever a forklift approaches, stop and make sure the operator sees you. If need be, step out of the aisle and let the forklift pass.
  • Look both ways before steeping into an aisle, around a corner or through a side door. Be sensitive to blind spots in the work area.
  • Organize the work place to keep aisles and adjacent area clear of employees and other obstructions.
  • Do not allow yourself to be lifted on a pallet or fork blades.
  • Do not walk or work beneath an unsupported lifted load.
  • Report any unsafe behavior of operators or pedestrians that you observe.

Common Forklift and Pedestrian Hazards

Forklift Operator Hazards

  • Moving too fast.
  • Not looking when backing up.
  • Carrying a view-blocking load.
  • Falling objects caused by poor load stacking or lifting.
  • Pedestrians standing or being lifted on pallets or fork blades.
  • Not giving pedestrians right of way.

Pedestrian Hazards

  • Standing or walking in blind spots, such as around corners and doorways.
  • Walking or working in aisles as forklift approaches.
  • Standing or being lifted on a pallet or fork blades.

Forklift Operating Area Hazards

  • Materials stacked in or near aisles.
  • Rough or uneven floor surface.
  • Oil, water or other slippery substances on the floor.
  • Poor lighting in forklift operating areas.
  • Forklifts in poor condition or in need of repair.

For more information about American Family’s Safety Consulting Services, contact your local agent.

*Your American Family Loss Control Specialist, contacted through you American Family agent, can help you set up or obtain forklift safety training for your employees.

Disclaimer: The loss control services listed above follow generally accepted safety standards. Compliance does not guarantee that you will be in conformance with any building code, or federal, state, or local regulations regarding safety or fire. Compliance does not ensure the absolute safety of your operations or place of business.

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