Stay Alert! The Importance of Forklift Warning Lights

Stay Alert! The Importance of Forklift Warning Lights

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for the fiscal year 2017. 

Number seven on the list points to the dangers of Powered Industrial Trucks.[1] The types of equipment in the category are lift trucks (forklifts), tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and more.  In the US alone there are 20,000 forklift-related injuries per year. And the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that there are 100 deaths every year caused by forklift strikes. [2] Unquestionably, some of the most serious forklift accidents involve pedestrians. So let’s focus on some proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian coming into contact with a forklift.  

OSHA states that forklift operators must yield the right of way to pedestrians; therefore, operators must be on constant alert. The forklift operator is required to slow down, stop and sound the horn at intersections, corners, and wherever their vision is obstructed. [3]   It is a recommended practice to engage the horn or alarm when backing up. But considering all things, we think it’s a good idea to go a step further with the use of forklift warning lights. Here are some things to consider:

Blue Spot Lights

Backup alarms are useful, but employees who are listing to loud music, using cell phones, or staring at the ground may not hear them. A blue warning light is hard to ignore. The light can be mounted on the front or back of the vehicle and shines a bright blue beam pattern on the floor in advance of the forklift. It provides an extra warning at blind intersections and is an excellent visual warning in noisy areas.

Red Zone Lights

A red light zone around the lift truck reminds pedestrians to keep a safe distance. The light is mounted on the overhead guard and displays a red line alerting pedestrians to avoid the forklift. This helps enforce a NO GO zone for both forklifts and pedestrians. By maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle, it helps to prevent foot injuries and collisions from rear-end swings; a potential cause of accidents if the operator doesn't judge a turn correctly.  

 

 

To conclude, forklift drivers must be trained, certified and reevaluated every three years. Improper forklift use and lack of proper training account for many of the OSHA violations each year. It is imperative that certified training be a priority in any operation where forklifts are in use. But even with appropriate training, it’s hard to anticipate what a pedestrian may do. They don’t always understand how quickly forklifts accelerate and how sharply they turn. So if you can’t eliminate pedestrians from areas with forklifts, we highly recommend installing forklift safety lights. They are a relatively inexpensive safeguard against a possible tragedy.

Workplace safety is a top priority at Action Lift. Our experts understand OSHA requirements, and we offer a wide variety of warehouse products to support a safe, compliant operation. In NE Pennsylvania, we are prepared to be your material-handling solutions partner. 


 

References:

[1] https://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-109/

[3] https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/pit/workplacehazards/pedestriantraffic.html#pedestrian


 



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