Pedestrians and forklifts do not mix.
Forklifts are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment found in the workplace. Almost half of all people injured by a forklift are pedestrians. Simple measures can be put in place to separate foot and forklift traffic and help reduce injuries. There are some obvious areas where forklift use should be examined, prohibited or minimised, such as around tea rooms, time clocks, cafeterias, amenities, entrances/exits, and other high pedestrian traffic areas.
Pedestrian Exclusion Zones
Pedestrian exclusion zones should be enforced within a three metre radius of a forklift. This distance should expand when the height of the forklift load or the speed travelled increases. If a pedestrian is within three metres of a forklift, employers are required to justify this practice through risk assessment and suitable risk control measures.
Source: WorkSafe Victoria
When developing Traffic Management System consider:
- Workplace layout and suitability
- Traffic volumes / destinations / prioritisation / flow (i.e. shared, one-way, divided, priority, "no go" areas)
- Identification of high risk "black spots"
- Separation (delineation of walkways and roadways, aisles, etc.)
- Signage, signalling
- Speed limitations
Pedestrian walkways must be clearly marked. Installing physical barriers ensures walkways and workstations are separated from forklift and other vehicle travel areas.
Audio Warnings and Flashing Lights
Audio warnings are just as important as visual ones. The tone must be distinct and clearly audible in the working environment where there may be other sources of noise. Horns and reversing beepers coupled with flashing lights best warn pedestrians of approaching forklifts. It is important to choose the appropriate intensity and colour of the lights to ensure the mobile plant is seen. For example, an orange warning device would be highly visible inside a warehouse but less so in sunlight. Flashing lights are imperative in areas with high levels of workplace noise.