We recommend three things that any manufacturing or distribution company should do before they acquire a forklift collision avoidance system.
1: Train your workers
2: Segregate workers from forklift traffic to the extent possible
3: Create and manage a forklift maintenance program
Lets talk about each of these in more detail and why they are important.
It is absolutely important that forklift drivers and pedestrian workers who share space with the forklifts should both be trained to work in their areas.
OSHA requires that forklift operators be trained and certified to operate forklifts. This training and certification ensures that forklift drivers are aware of the risks that forklifts pose to other workers and property.
For pedestrian workers, it is important to understand the damage a forklift can cause. New forklifts are very quite and will not make any noise to alert workers to their approach. This combined with the lack of visibility for the forklift driver makes it very dangerous for pedestrian workers. So pedestrian workers need to be trained and retrained to ensure they are constantly looking out for forklifts nearby.
If at all possible and to the extent possible, forklift traffic should be segregated from pedestrian traffic. This segregation should be physical i.e. with physical barriers so workers will not wander into a forklift area by mistake.
The risk of accidents increased significantly if the forklifts are not maintained regularly. Forklift maintenance should be a important part of operations. Any process that can help make identification of pending failures or incorrect operation quickly and enable the identified problems to be addresses in a timely manner will improve overall fleet performance and reduce accidents. A shift inspection process for forklifts will identify problems before they cause accidents.
Once these simple processes have been implemented and become part of the culture, you are ready to look at active solutions to help further reduce risk of accidents.
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