A high proportion of workplace injuries occur in areas where forklifts and other machinery encounter pedestrian traffic.
Encounters between workers and machinery can lead to a number of negative scenarios including:
- Equipment damage
- Lost or damaged product
Due to the high risks posed to workers by forklifts and machinery it is important for warehouse and fleet managers do everything possible to minimise the risks and likelihood of encounters between the two parties occurring.
One highly effective way to reduce the risk in warehouses is to introduce exclusion zones.
An exclusion zone is an area within a warehouse or property that is dedicated specifically to the operation of forklifts or machinery.
Safety warning systems are permanently erected around the area including painted walkways, safety cones and barriers to clearly define the area, to warn workers to keep away or to be highly alert while they are in the exclusion zone.
The key to safety in an exclusion zone is ensuring a safe distance is always kept between workers and forklifts when the two are working side-by-side.
The recommended size of the exclusion zone should be relative to the size of the forklift:
- For reach trucks and forklifts a minimum of 3 meters (9 feet) should be kept between machinery and workers
- For large forklifts and container handlers it is recommended that the minimum distance between machinery and workers should be slightly larger than the radius of the units turning circle. This distance assures that even if the forklift pivots on its driving axis, the rear end swing will not endanger a pedestrian who happens to be walking or standing close to but outside of the zone
In the event of an encounter between a forklift and a worker it is suggested the following happens to increase safety:
- The forklift operator and worker should make eye contact and hand signal to each other that each are aware of the other
- The forklift operator should stop the unit and straighten the wheels, this avoids the forklift operator from driving forward, which would cause a counterbalance swing of the lift into the pedestrian who may be standing next to the lift
- The operator should also lower the tynes to the floor, engage the park brake and shift the unit into neutral or turn off the unit, only then should the worker approach the forklift to communicate
- Once communication is completed the worker should immediately exit the exclusion zone and then the operator can safely resume using the forklift
- Communication should never occur whilst the forklift is in motion, because as they walk or drive neither the operator or pedestrian is looking where they’re going
For areas where clear physical separation is not possible, it is imperative to warn and prevent pedestrian accidents by attaching multiple large safety stickers to all forklifts and mobile plant equipment reminding workers to keep the 3m exclusion zone.
Our high quality 3m safety stickers are printed on heavy duty UV stabilised stock making them stand out in all environments and suitable for outdoor applications without fading.
For each individual forklift or piece of mobile equipment one full pack of sticker should be applied, with each pack containing:
- 2 x big sticker, dimensions 50cm x 15cm
- 2 x small stickers, dimensions 50 x 3.5cm
The stickers provide clear visual warnings of the exclusion zone surrounding forklift to all workers.