Three Easy Forklift Add-Ons for Enhancing the Safety of Your Workplace
What started as a regular day at the warehouse, quickly takes a turn for the worse. There’s been an accident involving a pedestrian and a forklift. This is the nightmare scenario that all companies, warehouse managers, and families hope to avoid. Would you believe that there’s a 90% chance of a forklift being involved in a serious (or fatal) accident in its lifetime? In fact, nearly 35,000 such incidents occur each year, 40% of which include pedestrians (and that’s just the ones that get reported to OSHA).
Are you 100% sure you’re doing everything you can to mitigate the risks? Let’s look at three easy add-ons to enhance forklift safety in the workplace.
Enhance the Visibility of Your Forklift with Blue Spot/Strobe Lights
If you frequently worked in tight quarters with a vehicle carrying 3,000 to 70,000 pounds, wouldn’t you want it to be as visible as possible? While most forklifts come equipped with headlights and brake lights, there’s no reason to not take things a step further. Especially when working in a low-light environment.
Blue spotlights are a great way to increase visibility in a busy workplace. They’re easily mounted on the overhead guard. They project a noticeable blue spot, arrow, or line on the ground (up to about 60FT) to alert bystanders of the approaching forklift. They’re especially helpful for blind corners, giving anyone walking by a clear indicator of the impending danger.
Imagine you’re in a hurry, thinking about your current task or a fast-approaching deadline. You’re about to round a corner. When all of a sudden, a bright blue light illuminates on the ground in front of you. Your attention snaps back. Moments later, a forklift carrying a heavy load passes by. What if?
Strobe lights are another way to lessen the chances of an accident occurring. They’re great for alerting workers when a forklift is in action. When it’s changing speeds, changing direction, or moving in reverse. A bright, rapidly blinking light stands out in a busy warehouse and might be just the thing you need to avoid a disaster.
OSHA cites that 70% of forklift-related accidents could have been avoided. By investing in a simple add-on or two, like a blue spotlight forklift accessory or strobe light. You not only make the working environment safer for your workers, but you decrease liability for the company as well.
Bonus Forklift Safety Tip – Floor Marking System
By implementing a floor marking system, you decrease the chances of having a forklift-related incident. Mark high traffic areas in yellow, creating separate lanes for driving and walking. Use red to denote fire hazards, equipment, and emergency switches.
Equip Audible Alarms for Further Indications of a Nearby Forklift
A warehouse or work-yard is a busy place. People are yelling, equipment is running, it’s easy to not see an approaching forklift if you aren’t paying attention. That’s where audible alarms come in. The most obvious one that we’re sure you’ve heard of is ahorn. Horns are a great way to communicate to those around you, letting them know when you’re approaching, backing up, or coming around a corner.
Bystanders don’t always have proper judgment near a forklift, especially if they don’t work in the warehouse. Thankfully, in addition to a horn, you can also invest in a backup alarm which most people recognize. As its name suggests, it alerts those in the area when the forklift is moving in reverse. While you are not required to have a backup alarm, if your forklift came equipped with one from the manufacturer, it is prohibited to remove it.
How loud should an alarm be to ensure it is heard? Studies show that the human ear can discern the difference in volume by as little as 3dB. For a sound to be twice as loud as another, it has to increase by 10dB. Which is what’s suggested for a forklift audible alarm to be easily noticed.
Bonus Forklift Safety Tip – Daily Inspections
Incorporating a daily inspection of your forklift might sound pretty basic. But, so is using a blinker while driving a car, and how often do most forget to do so? A few things to check include the brakes, lights, horn, and steering wheel. You should also review the mast, overhead guard, and forks for damage.
Illuminate the Proximity of Your Forklift with a Safety Zone System
Can you imagine reciting the story of how you got your toes crushed by a forklift? Doesn’t sound like fun, eh? You might consider adding a safety zone system, which illuminates the area around the vehicle in red using a few high-powered LEDs. But it’s not just getting your toes ran over to worry about, many things can happen when you get too close to a vehicle that’s carrying a load. There’s no reason to mention them all, that’s what your imagination is for.
Remember, it’s not just about you being able to see the forklift, it’s also about the driver being able to see you. Which, if they’re carrying a full palette, is very difficult. Safety zone systems are easy to install and are adjustable, allowing you to alter the distance depending on what you’re carrying.
Bonus Forklift Safety Tip – Visibility Best Practices
Visibility is one of the main concerns behind operating a forklift. For this reason, you should follow a few best practices. These include making eye contact with pedestrians and looking in the direction you’re headed. If the load you’re carrying obstructs your view, consider moving in reverse.
You’re Only Lucky – Until You Aren’t Anymore
Why take the risk in the first place? Each of these three add-ons is cost-effective and easy to install. Blue spotlights or strobe lights are a great visual cue to alert pedestrians that a forklift is operating nearby. Audible alarms stimulate an additional sense for an extra layer of protection. And safety zone systems add further visibility to prevent incidents in the immediate proximity of the vehicle.
The best defense is a solid offense. Tackle the problem before it becomes one, by improving the safety of your workplace with some easy to add forklift accessories.