Every year, pedestrians are hurt or killed when they are struck by a lift truck. One third of injuries involving forklifts are to someone other than the operator. Pedestrian safety in the workplace is a topic that is often overlooked by many companies, large and small.
- Although OSHA’s regulations imply that the lift truck operators are responsible for pedestrian safety, it is important to make sure that those who work in areas where lift trucks operate are fully aware of the hazards that surround them. Lift truck operators should be trained to always watch out for pedestrians, but more can be done to dismiss some common pedestrian myths such as:
- If I see the lift truck operator, the operator sees me.
- I have the right of way, so the operator will stop for me.
- As long as I am in a marked pedestrian walkway, I’m safe.
- Just like lift truck operators are taught to be defensive drivers, pedestrians should be taught to be defensive pedestrians and be aware of their surroundings at all times. A pedestrian safety class, while as important as a lift truck safety class, does not have to be as extensive or time consuming as a lift truck safety class. It is something that can be covered during a company safety meeting. The following is a list of do’s and don’ts for pedestrians:
- DO observe conditions – slippery surfaces such as water, oil spills can create a slick spot for the lift truck.
- DO follow all company safety rules and stay on marked walk ways.
- DO establish eye contact with the lift truck operators.
- DO be aware of operator performance and stay clear when you see reckless, rushed, or erratic driving.
- DON’T ride on any part of the truck, forks, or pallet.
- DON’T put any part of your body under the forks or load.
- DON’T walk under raised forks or attachments.
- DON’T get on the back of a truck to add counterweight.
Remember, pedestrians who share the same floor space that lift trucks operate in are in the driver’s seat too. They are in control of their movements, just as the lift truck operator is in control of where the lift truck travels.