The transport, postal and warehousing industry is frequently listed as one of the most dangerous occupations for workplace injury or death. Putting safety first has always been a high priority when developing our Toyota forklifts.
Here are five vital tips to consider when pedestrians are working or walking near forklifts.
1. Be seen - not just your hi-vis!
This may be common sense for many, but it may be the most vital item of clothing in the warehouse. Wearing hi-vis vests should be enforced where there is any chance of pedestrians moving close to or around forklifts. Other ways to increase visibility in the warehouse include convex mirrors at blind corners and adequate lighting to ensure there are no hazards lurking in the shadows.
2. We have the technology
Significant advances in warehouse safety systems mean there's a number of products out there to help keep warehouse staff safe. Toyota's SpotMe system can be installed in blind spots and other potentially dangerous areas and uses infra-red (IR) direction sensitive sensors to detect movement and activate flashing LED warning lights if required to avoid an accident.
3. Highlight the danger
Painting areas with high forklift activity or those that may be blind spots with reflective or yellow paint can increase awareness for pedestrians in the warehouse. Ample signage to highlight that there may be heavy machinery about will also help. Reflective paint and stickers can also be used on the forklifts themselves to increase visibility of these machines in operation.
4. Training isn't just for the drivers
Ensure any staff or personnel who are regularly working around forklifts are trained to be aware of what to watch and listen out for. Simple training on topics such as possible blind spots, the sounds of reversing forklifts and also what to do in the case if there is a potential hazard ahead should become common knowledge for all your warehouse staff.
5. Stay aware, stay awake
Fatigue is arguably the biggest risk to forklift operators and pedestrians alike. Ensuring all employees are well-rested will result in a more aware workplace and reduce the risk of a possible hazard being overlooked. Forklift drivers who are more alert will be better able to watch out for pedestrians, and vice versa.
Each warehouse will have its own rules about safety, so please check with the manager or foreman on procedures that may be specific to your workplace. Ensure you do your part to stay safe, whether you are an operator or a pedestrian. As long as everyone gets to go home at the end of the day, then it's been a good day.